Meet the riders Sky is hoping will make the difference this season
The transfer window was relatively quiet for Team Sky, with just four riders joining for the new season.
Sky are famed for snapping up talent to bolster their already staggering roster of quality riders.
After losing a number of riders to retirement and transfers the British WorldTour outfit have made relatively few changes, but still picked up riders who are likely to impress in the coming years.
The end of the 2018 season saw Sky’s Sergio Henao, Beñat Intxausti and Łukasz Wiśniowski leave for new teams, while Philip Deignan and David López retired from racing.
Britain’s Jon Dibben has also departed, but his future plans are still unclear.
Sky only signed four riders heading in 2019, having picked up nine new stars in 2019 and six the previous year.
Team Sky fans will already be familiar with the British all-rounder Ben Swift, who first joined the squad at its inception in 2010.
After leaving to chase his own opportunities with UAE Team Emirates at the end of the 2016 season, Swift suffered setback after setback that hindered his ambitions.
In 2017 he struggled through illness and injury while working to adapt to his new surroundings with the Middle East-based team.
Then in 2018, while planning a big year supporting UAE’s general classification contenders in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, Swift suffered a broken back in the Tour of Flanders that kept him from racing for a month.
But now making his return to Team Sky, the 31-year-old from Rotherham is hoping to return to his former best.
With 13 pro wins, including a stage at the Tour of Britain, two stages of the Tour Down Under and a GC win at the Tour de Picardie, Swift has the potential to score wins for Team Sky.
He has also come close to victory on the biggest stages, including Milan-San Remo podiums in both 2014 and 2016, and a fifth place finish in the 2017 World Championship road race.
Ecuadorian Jhonatan Narváez joins Sky after riding just one season with Belgian super-team Quick-Step.
At just 21, Narváez is indicative of Team Sky’s drive to recruit younger riders and firm up their strength when the current crop of leaders begin to retire in the coming years.
Narváez, who joined the WorldTour from Axeon Hagens Berman in 2017, has already taken the Ecuadorian national champion title and claimed overall victory in the Circuit des Ardennes International under-23 race.
Sky have signed the all-rounder for his ability to support the team on the flat and on the climbs, much like the role currently played by Spaniard Jonathan Castroviejo.
Another young talent Sky are looking to develop is Filippo Ganna.
The 22-year-old Italian is the second signing from UAE Team Emirates alongside Ben Swift.
As both a track and road talent, Ganna has a strong pursuit pedigree that he has adapted to promising time trial performances in his first two years as a pro.
Ganna is also a winner of the under-23 Paris-Roubaix, racing his first full WorldTour cobbled Classics campaign last year.
While victory has been just out of his grasp during his brief pro career, Ganna finished second on GC at the 2018 Vuelta a San Juan, taking the young rider’s classification and just missing out on an individual TT victory on stage three.
He also finished just two seconds behind Sky’s Gianni Moscon at the Italian national time trial championships last year.
Arguably the most exciting of Team Sky’s new recruits is Colombian Iván Sosa.
Sosa joins from Italian Professional Continental outfit Androni Giocattoli Sidermec, where his close friend and compatriot Egan Bernal also cut his teeth.
At just 21, Sosa’s general classification talent is already evident – he won overall at the Vuelta a Burgos, Sibiu Cycling Tour, Adriatica Ionica and the Tour of Bior last season.
Team Sky are looking to nurture Sosa’s climbing ability as part of their next generation of talent.
Sosa’s transfer wasn’t straight forward as he was initially linked with Trek – Segafredo before it later emerged the deal was not confirmed.
He was later linked with Team Sky, but it was not until December that Sky finally confirmed he had joined while he was already out training with the squad.