Team Sky has bolstered its Grand Tour line-up by signing Richie Porte from SaxoBank Sungard.
The 26-year-old Australian finished seventh overall in his first Giro d’Italia in 2010 to win the white jersey for best young rider by more than seven minutes.
Porte assumed the role of domestique to Alberto Contador at this year’s Giro and Tour de France, while earning podium positions in time trials at Paris-Nice, Castilla y Leon and the Tour de Romandie before claiming a victory against the clock at the Tour of Denmark .
And Tasmanian-born Porte believes his move to the British team will help continue his development as a Grand Tour contender.
“I’ll be targeting the week-long stage races initially, although it would be nice in the future to lead the team in a Grand Tour,” said Porte.
“My time trialling is another area I want to focus on, and having guys in the team like Bradley Wiggins and Michael Rogers will help me no end and I’ll be looking to learn as much as I can from them.”
He continued: “I’m really happy to have signed for Team Sky and cannot wait to see what next season will bring. Ever since the launch of the team I’ve been really impressed with the way they go about their business and it’ll be nice to be able to experience that first-hand now.
“For riders like myself who are always looking to develop and improve, I don’t think there’s a better place to be – the coaching set up is absolutely top-notch and the way they look after their riders is also second to none.
“I had two great years at Saxo Bank-Sungard, and will be forever grateful to them for giving me my chance in the professional ranks, but am looking forward to opening this next chapter of my career now and hopefully taking things to another level.”
Team Sky prinicipal Dave Brailsford added: “In Richie Porte, Team Sky have acquired one of the world’s most gifted riders and we are thrilled to have him on the team. The progress he has made during the last four years has been outstanding and he will undoubtedly strengthen our squad for 2012 and beyond.
“Richie is a rider that has everything – not only is he right up there with the best time triallers in the world, he can also climb and is not afraid to suffer when he is told to work for someone else either. Now is his time to shine – whether that’s in a Grand Tour or on a stage race like Paris-Nice, we’ll have to see, but it’s a long season and he’ll get plenty of opportunities.
“I’m sure he’s going to be very happy with this team and we’re confident he will have a long and successful career with us.”