Team Sky signs Dowsett, Uran and Zandio

Briton Alex Dowsett, 21, Colombian Rigoberto Uran, 23, and Spaniard Xabier Zandio, 33, have been signed by British-based Team Sky for the 2011 season.

Uran and Zandio have been signed to boost the squad’s presence on the mountains during grand tours. Sky’s lack of climbing power in the high mountains has been the team’s weakest point this season. The signing of the former Caisse d’Epargne pair is a clear signal that Sky are rectifying the issue.

Dowsett is one of Britain’s brightest young talents, having won the under-23 European Championships time trial and had a strong season with the Trek-Livestrong development squad. He will continue his development as a first-year professional with Sky, and aim for prologue and time trial wins.

“These signings will strengthen our squad even further for our second season on the road,” said Sky team principal David Brailsford. “Rigoberto and Xabier… should come to the fore in the mountains in the Grand Tours, an area we have been keen to focus on.”

“Rigoberto is a super-talented rider who has some great results to his name this year and 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,” continued Brailsford.

“Xabier is a rock-solid climber who brings us real experience; he is someone who will give his teammates absolutely everything in the mountains on exactly the sort of stages which decide Grand Tours.”

“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 squad. 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.”

Dowsett is currently in Australia where he will ride for Great Britain in the under-23 men’s time trial and road race.

Alex Dowsett
Age: 21
Nationality: British
Previous team: Trek-LiveStrong
Strength: Time trials
Notes: 2010 European under-23 time trial champion; Recently became one of only five riders in history to clock a sub-47 minute 25-mile time trial in UK
Alex Dowsett: Rider Profile>>

Rigoberto Uran
Age: 23
Nationality: Colombian
Previous team: Caisse d’Epargne
Strength: Climbing
Notes: Tour de Suisse, seventh overall (second on stage six)

Xabier Zandio
Age: 33
Nationality: Spanish
Previous team: Caisse d’Epargne
Strength: Climbing domestique
Notes: Completed 10 grand tours

Related links
Team Sky’s 2010 race programme – includes Sky’s results
Dowsett on flying form ahead of Worlds
Alex Dowsett: Rider Profile