Team Sky announces first signings
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Team Sky announces first signings

by VeloNation Press at 1:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Dave Brailsford, Principal for Team Sky, announced the first riders to sign for the new British professional cycling team.

With a mission to grow British cycling and cultivate a Tour de France overall winner from within, it is only appropriate for the first riders officially announced for the team be British.

“Today brings an important milestone. Team Sky is a major project for British sport; a British Professional Cycling team built to take on the Tour de France," said Brailsford in a press release.

“We have a rider-centred philosophy so these are the people at its heart. It gives me huge satisfaction to announce these first riders. And as a British Team, I am proud that the first on our roster are British."

The six British riders are:

GERAINT THOMAS MBE: Born in Cardiff, the 23 year-old came through the British Cycling Academy and is a former winner of the Junior Paris Roubaix. Turned professional with Barloworld in 2007, becoming the youngest rider in that year’s Tour de France and the first Welshman to ride it for 40 years. Won Gold for Team Pursuit at Beijing Olympics.

PETER KENNAUGH: Aged 20, and one of the most promising talents to emerge in several years, he turns professional with Team Sky. Peter progressed through the Academy to become the British Under-23 Champion and to dominate the Under-23 calendar in Italy, winning the Trofeo Bastianelli, GP Capadarco and a stage of the Baby Giro. Born on the Isle of Man and partners fellow Manxman Mark Cavendish in Madison on the track.

STEVE CUMMINGS: The 28-year old from Birkenhead is in his fifth season as a professional, riding for Discovery with Lance Armstrong and then with Barloworld. The former Junior National Road champion has now taken three professional wins. A strong time-trial rider, he helped GB to Team Pursuit Gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Silver at the 2004 Olympics and the World Championship in 2005.

CHRIS FROOME: Started in mountain biking in South Africa before moving onto the road, he is an outstanding climber with great potential to develop further. Turned pro in 2007 and is now in his third professional season. Currently with Barloworld, the 24-year old completed the Tour de France in 2008 and was seventh amongst the young riders at the 2009 Giro d’Italia.

IAN STANNARD: Born in Chelmsford, the 22-year old made his professional road debut two years ago as a trainee with T-Mobile. He came 3rd in last year’s Tour of Britain - riding for the GB team and finishing one place behind Steve Cummings - and was selected to ride this year’s Giro d’Italia with the new ISD team.

RUSSELL DOWNING: Winner of the 2009 Tour of Ireland and a former British National Road Champion in 2005. The 31-year old has ridden for Great Britain at the World Championship and, as one of the most successful ever domestic-based professionals, has a long history on the British road-racing scene. Currently rides for Pinarello.

In the coming months Team Sky will be brining on up to twenty more riders to complete the roster.

Of his new recruits, Brailsford said, “They bring experience of the Tour de France, honours from the Olympics and World Championships, and exciting talent. We can help them continue to develop in this new environment and I know that they can help Team Sky take on the best on the road and win.

“We have put a lot of time and energy into identifying and recruiting riders who will fit the Team Sky ethos and performance principles. Their style and approach to racing will only enhance our prospects of encouraging a nation of people to get out and ride.”

He concluded; “In the coming weeks and months they will be joined by other riders, from Britain and overseas. We will announce their new team-mates as and when we are able to. In the meantime, we will continue to respect all riders’ arrangements with existing teams and only comment on the riders we have signed, as and when we do.”

The plan is for Team Sky to a core of British riders, coaches and support staff and it be headquartered in Manchester along side the Great Britain cycling team. Brailsford has said he wants a British Tour de France champion within five years, a lofty goal considering the importance of the event. The team is set to start competing in 2010, and hopes to gain an invitation to next year’s Tour de France.

Cervelo TestTeam has proven that a first year squad can be successful with the right personnel, so it isn't a stretch to see the British team rise amongst the ranks if the proper decisions are made.

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