Team Sky will welcome Italian Elia Viviani from team Cannondale for the 2015 season. The 25-year-old sprinter told national sports daily, La Gazzetta dello Sport at the European Track Championships that the contract is ready to sign.
“To make it official, we just lack some trivial details,” Viviani said, “but the contract’s there, ready to sign and return to [Sky Principal David] Brailsford.”
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The 25-year-old from Verona raced the last five years with Liquigas/Cannondale. Besides a silver medal in the scratch race at the 2011 World Championships, he has 30 professional road wins that include six this year and a stage at the Tour of Britain last year.
Viviani had an option to continue in 2015 with Cannondale, which will now sponsor Jonathan Vaughters’ US team, but decided to race for Sky.
“Once the possibility with Garmin faded, I considered three teams: Sky, Orica and BMC,” Viviani explained.
“I went with the British team for several reasons. They made me proud because by looking for me it showed they believe in me as an athlete who can win. And above all, they want to make me their symbol cyclist for the Italian market.
“Then there’s the track. Brailsford has been open and available, and guaranteed all the support possible for the Olympics. To have a team at your back like Sky, with a lot of experience on the track, translates into a certain security.”
Team Sky already had six Italians in its team over the last five years partly to help support Sky Italia. Dario Cataldo will leave Sky for team Astana but Salvatore Puccio will continue and race alongside Viviani as the team’s two Italians.
Its other Italians included Davide Viganò (2010), Dario Cioni (2010-2011), Morris Possoni (2010-2011) and Davide Appollonio (2011-2012). Cioni continued with the team as a sports director and press officer.
Sky reportedly is interested in Italians Sonny Colbrelli, who rode for Bardiani-CSF this year and placed 13th in the World Championship road race, and 18-year-old Filippo Ganna.
At the European Championships in Guadeloupe, Viviani is building points for the 2016 Rio Olympics. He plans to race the track Worlds in Paris from February 18 to 22 and then build for the spring classics.
Viviani would sprint alongside Brit Ben Swift. He joins Sky’s other new riders Andrew Fenn, Leopold König, Wout Poels, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Nicolas Roche. Bradley Wiggins is expected to continue, but has yet to confirm his contract.
Irishman Nicolas Roche joins British WorldTour team Sky, along with Andy Fenn, Leopold Konig, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Wout Poels
Yorkshireman Ben Swift extends with British WorldTour outfit Sky for two more years