Team Sky confirmed on Monday that it has signed Belarusian Vasil Kiryienka on a three-year contract.
Kiryienka’s move from the Spanish Movistar outfit surfaced at the World Championships in September, where he placed third behind Tony Martin and Taylor Phinney in the time trial. Kiryienka is also known for his climbing ability as well as his strength against the clock.
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Although a Grand Tour stage winner in his own right – he won stages of the Giro d’Italia in 2008 and 2011 – Kiryienka will form part of the key back-up squad for Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome. Wiggins is aiming for the 2013 Giro, and Froome will aim for the overall classification of the 2013 Tour de France.
“I am very happy to be joining Team Sky and I’m confident I will fit in without any difficulty as there are people I’ve known for a long time in the squad,” the 31-year-old said in a Sky statement.
“Team Sky have enjoyed a fantastic season in 2012 and I’m looking forward to contributing towards even greater success over the next three years, whether that means working for myself, or for someone else.”
It was announced last week that Michael Rogers had left Sky for Saxo-Tinkoff. Rogers had been one of Wiggins’ key helpers on his way to winning the 2012 Tour. Kiryienka’s signing will go some way to filling the gap left by the Australian’s departure.
Nicolas Portal, Sky directeur sportif, said: “Vasil has won some big races and put in some impressive performances at the very highest level. His stage win at the Giro d’Italia last season was phenomenal, and we were all impressed with the way he was able to battle on and take the victory.”
“He can perform very highly in his own right, or in a team capacity, and we know what he is capable of. It puts us in even better shape heading into the big tours of 2013.”