Britain’s Ben Swift was today named as the latest signing to Team Sky at the new road squad’s official launch in London.
The announcement comes after the 22-year-old Englishman negotiated his release from Russian team Katusha, for whom he made his professional debut in 2009.
“I’m massively grateful to Katusha for the opportunities they gave me, but coming to Team Sky feels like coming home, because I know so many of the support staff and the riders,” Swift said.
Swift has been named in Team Sky’s squad for the Tour Down Under in Australia later this month, which will be the new squad’s first competitive outing.
The team is aiming to produce a Tour de France winner within five years, with its bid for glory being spearheaded by triple Olympic gold medal winner Bradley Wiggins, one of eight Britons on a roster of 26 riders drawn from 12 different countries.
Wiggins, who equalled the best finish by a Briton in the Tour de France with fourth place in the 2009 race, left American team Garmin last month to sign a four-year deal with Sky.
Team Sky is being headed by David Brailsford, the performance director of British Cycling, with financial backing from satellite broadcaster BSkyB.
All previous attempts to establish a British-led team capable of competing in the Tour de France have floundered but Brailsford said he was confident Team Sky would quickly establish itself as a major force.
“We started talking a long time ago about setting up a top-level British team but needed to reach a critical mass of riders to achieve it,” Brailsford said. “Now here we are.”
© AFP 2010