European champion Dowsett joins Urán and Zandio as new Team Sky signings
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

European champion Dowsett joins Urán and Zandio as new Team Sky signings

by Conal Andrews at 6:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Brailsford pleased with additions

Alex DowsettThe talented 21 year old Briton Alex Dowsett is one of three new signings for Team Sky, the European time trial champion being confirmed as an addition today along with Colombian Rigoberto Urán and the Spaniard Xabier Zandio.

Dowsett highlighted his class when he won the European title on July 16th, beating the Frenchman Geoffrey Soupe by 14 seconds and the Portuguese rider Oliveira Nelson Felipe Santos by 18. The Trek Livestrong rider then went on to net second in the prologue of the Tour de l’Avenir, finish ninth on stage one and move briefly into the race leader’s jersey.

He will tomorrow line out in the under 23 time trial at the world championships, then will contest the road race on Saturday and go on to compete in the Commonwealth Games.

Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford is pleased with all three signings, but is especially excited about Dowsett’s decision to come on board.

“I'm delighted that Alex is joining us; he's a young rider who has come through the British system with flying colours and will fit perfectly into our set-up.

"We know just how talented Alex is and he's been showing that this year, winning the Under-23 individual time trial at the European Championships in Turkey this summer and getting some excellent results for the Trek-Livestrong U-23 squad,” he said. “He's a real all-rounder with an incredibly bright future and we are looking forward to him developing with us at Team Sky and achieving his full potential.”

Urán is two years older than his new team-mate, yet has been a pro for five years and is inside the UCI’s top 100 riders. His performances this year include seventh overall in the Tour de Suisse plus second on stages to Schwarzeburg and La Punt, seventh in the Plan de Corones time trial in the Giro d’Italia, seventh in the Klasika Primavera and fifth and tenth on stages of the Vuelta a España. He’s been competing with the Caisse d’Epargne squad for three years, securing the contract when he took a superb stage win in the 2007 Tour de Suisse.

Urán also has a third place finish in the Giro di Lombardia to his credit and should continue to progress as he gets older.

“Rigoberto is a super-talented rider who has some great results to his name this year,” said Brailsford. “We are delighted that he has committed his future to Team Sky. He's a young rider with fantastic prospects, exactly the sort of person we have been keen to get on board. He's an excellent climber who has already shone in the Grand Tour environment and I'm sure he will continue to go from strength to strength.”

His team-mate Zandio is also making the move from the Spanish ProTour team. He has ridden ten Grand Tours and is likely to play a domestique role in the British squad. “Xabier is a rock-solid climber who brings us real experience; he is someone who will give his team-mates absolutely everything in the mountains on exactly the sort of stages which decide Grand Tours,” said Brailsford.

He feels that they will make a different to the team in 2011. “These signings will strengthen our squad even further for our second season on the road. Rigoberto and Xabier join from Caisse d'Epargne and both should come to the fore in the mountains in the Grand Tours, an area we have been keen to focus on.”

For British fans, Dowsett will invariably be the one which excites most, even if Urán is more likely to net big results in the short term due to his age and experience. He’s looking forward to the opportunity. “Sky bound next year – pretty bloody excited,” he said today on his Twitter feed.

His signing now means that Team Sky has nine British riders, with six of those 25 or younger. With another year or two under their belts, Brailsford and the others involved in team management know that they should start delivering in major races and making a big impression on the pro scene.


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