Team Sky have announced that 2017 Tour de l’Avenir winner Egan Bernal will join them for the 2018 season.
The 20-year-old has been strongly rumoured to join the British squad for some time, but it has now been confirmed after the Colombian won the prestigious under-23 race on Sunday.
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Bernal has broken into into the top-10 in two pro stage races this year, the Settimana Coppi e Bartali where he finished fourth and the Tour of the Alps where he finished ninth overall.
He also took second place in the young rider classification at WorldTour race Tirreno-Adriatico while riding for his Italian team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec.
“I always dreamed of being with this team. I never thought the opportunity to join would come this fast, so to sign for Team Sky is a dream come true,” Bernal said on the announcement.
“My first goal with Team Sky is to learn. I want to learn from my teammates and take advantage of the experience that there is in the team.
“I’m excited to be joining Team Sky and I want to contribute as much as I can.”
With four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome approaching the latter part of his career at age 32, Sky are clearly looking at their long-term GC prospects and believe Bernal has the potential to lead them in major stage races in the future.
“Egan showed really good things last year at Coppi e Bartali and was very impressive for such a young rider.” said sports director Dario Cioni.
“He was consistent and he achieved a lot of good results last year. He’s continued that into this season and has put in some really strong performances.
“He has shown his ability, nowhere more so than with his performances at the Tour de L’Avenir. We are sure we can help him develop over the next years into someone who can become a leader for stage races”.
Bernal becomes Sky’s third new signing for the 2018 season, with Jonathan Castroviejo arriving from Movistar and fellow Spaniard David de la Cruz making the move from Quick-Step Floors.