British climber Mark Donovan will make the step up to the World Tour with Sunweb next season.
The 20-year-old, from Penrith in Cumbria, will make the move after two years racing with Continental outfit Team Wiggins-Le Col.
Donovan took three victories in 2017 as a junior and continued his promising progression as an under-23 last year, leading the Baby Giro before finishing fourth overall.
Sunweb bosses say they are impressive with Donovan’s aggressive racing style and his climbing abilities.
Team coach Marc Reef said: “We have been in contact with Mark for quite a while and he joined our camp in January, making a good impression there.
“He showed his physical potential last year, especially in the Baby Giro where he wore the maglia rosa and finished fourth place on GC. This year he has had some bad luck but we believe in him as a rider with big potential for the future, with his aggressive style of racing also one of his qualities.”
Reef added that the team will offer him a versatile race schedule for his first few years in the WorldTour peloton to allow Donovan space to decide which specialisation he will follow.
His move to the top-tier has been welcomed by another Cumbrian star, James Knox who joined Deceuninck – Quick-Step last season.
Donovan said: “Team Sunweb have proved themselves over the past few years to be one of the top WorldTour teams in the world, winning races like the Giro d’Italia and the TTT world championships. There is also a big focus on developing young riders like Marc Hirschi this year and many examples from the past; I think it will be the perfect place for me to grow in the next three years.”
He added: “For my first year I think it’s important for me to learn as much as possible, and get used to racing in the WorldTour. It’s going to be a big step up but I’m really excited to get into it and learn from the best. Over the next few years I’m hoping to continue to improve as a climber, as well as helping the more experienced riders as best I can.”