By Nigel Wynn
British rider Tao Geoghegan Hart has been signed up to ride for the United States-based Bontrager development team for 2014, former home of now-established professionals Alex Dowsett and Taylor Phinney.
The 18-year-old from Hackney, London, has enjoyed a breakout season, culminating in a truly dominant performance in the prestigious Italian junior race Giro della Lunigiana, where he won the overall classification, mountains competition and points jersey. Earlier in the year he placed third in the junior Paris-Roubaix and won the Tour of Istria.
"Super excited to be riding for Bontrager next season! Really motivated to make the most of this amazing opportunity," said Geoghegan Hart via Twitter on Monday morning.
A switch in title sponsor for 2014 means that the Bontrager team will actually be known as the Bissell Cycling Team next season. The team was created as a development squad in 2009, when it was known as Trek-Livestrong.
As well as bringing on the talents of Phinney and Dowsett - who currently ride for WorldTour squads BMC Racing and Movistar - the team has also been home for Sky pros Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell, former US national champion Ben King, George Bennett and Jesse Sergent among many others.
Signing to the squad will bring Geoghegan Hart into contact with senior elite racing for the first time, with a calendar that will likely include the team fielding riders once again at the Tour of California, Tour of Utah and USA Pro Challenge as well as selected races in Europe. The squad is currently managed by former Belgian professional Axel Merckx, son of five-times Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx.
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