By Nigel Wynn
American Danny Pate has signed to the British Sky squad for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Pate signs to Sky from the HTC-Highroad team, which disbands at the end of this season due to lack of sponsorship.
Pate's signing will fuel further rumours of Mark Cavendish's move to the team - Pate has been a key part of Cavendish's lead-out train this season. Cavendish has so far remained tight-lipped about his home for 2012.
Officially, though, Pate joins the team to bring his experience and commitment to team duties, according to Sky team principal David Brailsford.
"Throughout this season Danny has shown the calibre of bike rider he is with his performances for HTC-Highroad," said Brailsford in a Sky statement.
"We've seen him chasing down breakaways week in, week out and have been really impressed with the way he goes about his business. He's capable of being on the front of the peloton for long periods, day after day, and that's testament to the way he looks after himself both on and off the bike."
"His experience was also a major attraction for us and we will be looking to him to impart some of that on the younger guys in the team."
The 32-year-old is the first American rider to sign to Sky.
Pate added: "I was fortunate to have a number of offers from teams for next season."
"After riding with HTC-Highroad, I wanted to stay at the highest level in cycling and be part of the most professional team in the peloton. That is why I have chosen Team Sky and I am delighted to be joining one of the best-structured teams ever in cycling."
Pate first make his mark on the international scene when he won the under-23 time trial world title. He rose to the professional ranks via Jonathan Vaughter's TIAA-CREF development team, switching to Vaughter's Slipstream/Garmin squad in 2007. He then moved to HTC-Highroad for 2011.
Pate joins four other new signing at Sky announced so far: Sergio Luis Henao (Col) from Gobernacion de Antioquia, Luke Rowe (GBr) from the Great Britain Academy, Salavatore Puccio (Ita) from Menfi-AG and Richie Porte (Aus) from Saxo Bank-Sungard.
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