Team Sky have made a raft of new signings for 2018, with eight riders either joining the team from other WorldTour squads or making their debut in the top-flight.
Jonathan Castroviejo, David de la Cruz and Dylan van Baarle are the more established names, having inked deals with Sky from Movistar, Quick-Step Floors and Cannondale-Drapac respectively.
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These three riders bring with them different skillsets. Spaniard Castroviejo, 30, is one of the strongest time triallists in the peloton, having taken an array of wins against the clock as well as being a mainstay of Movistar’s team time trial line-up.
“Everybody knows the strength in the team, and how important the spirit between the riders is to the team’s success,” said Castroviejo. “I’m really looking forward to being part of that, bringing my own experience and learning new things.”
Fellow Spaniard de la Cruz, 28, is a rider on the ascendancy, having put in some impressive climbing performances in the Vuelta a España and Paris-Nice during 2017.
De la Cruz said: “I definitely feel that, at this point in my career, Team Sky is the best place for me to progress and to be the best rider I can be.”
Sky coach Xabi Artext said of de la Cruz: “He is a really versatile rider who can perform a lot of roles, but he climbs very well and he has had some excellent results on really tough mountain stages, like at the Vuelta a Espana and at Paris Nice.
“He has an interesting story in that he didn’t start in bike riding until quite late. His progression has been fast and his talent has always been obvious.”
Dutch 2014 Tour of Britain winner van Baarle is seeking to improve in the Classics, having placed fourth in the 2017 Tour of Flanders. At 25-years-old, van Baarle is just hitting his stride.
“Finishing in fourth place at Flanders has given me a lot of motivation,” said van Baarle. “Not just being so close to the podium, but also because I finished sixth the year before I could see the improvement in myself, and that’s what I want to keep up.
“I want to do even better in the next few years and target a podium in a big Classic like Flanders or Roubaix. That is my main goal.”
Five of the eight new signings are under 25 years old, as Sky seeks to continue to nurture young talent in its ranks.
Leonard Basso (Italy, 24), Egan Bernal (Colombia, 20), Kristoffer Halvorsen (Norway, 21), Chris Lawless (Great Britain, 22) and Pavel Sivakov (Russia, 20) are all looking to gain experience in the team throughout the coming season.
Lawless joins Sky from American development team Axeon-Hagens Berman, where he enjoyed a successful 2017 season.
“The overall win at the ZLM Tour and the stage win at Tour de l’Avenir were both really big wins for me,” said Lawless.
“I was happy with the way I won them. It’s not how I usually win races. I attacked instead of waiting for the sprint which I think showed I can do more than just finish quickly.
“The other highlight was obviously the British Nationals and winning the under-23 jersey. I was happy to be able to compete with the other WorldTour guys there and I was still able to attack and show my pace at the end.”
Team Sky will make their 2018 WorldTour season debut at the Tour Down Under in Australia over January 16-21. The squad has yet to confirm its line-up for the six-day race.