Team Sky snap up rising star Porte
Rising Australian cycling star Richie Porte has become the latest rider to join Team Sky for the 2012 season.
Porte, 26, joins from Saxo Bank. A spectacular Giro d'Italia debut with the team last year saw him hold the Maglia Rosa between stages 11-13 and finish seventh overall - taking the young rider’s classification by a huge seven-minute margin.
He was domestique to Spanish superstar Alberto Contador during his second Giro d'Italia triumph and brave, failed Tour de France defence this year.
“I'm really happy to have signed for Team Sky and cannot wait to see what next season will bring," he said.
"Ever since the launch of the team I've been really impressed with the way they go about their business and it'll be nice to be able to experience that first-hand now.
"For riders like myself who are always looking to develop and improve, I don't think there's a better place to be - the coaching set up is absolutely top-notch and the way they look after their riders is also second to none.
“I had two great years at Saxo Bank-Sungard, and will be forever grateful to them for giving me my chance in the professional ranks, but am looking forward to opening this next chapter of my career now and hopefully taking things to another level.”
Porte only began to cycle competitively in 2006. He started out with the Praties and Monsummanese Grassi Mapei teams before moving to Saxo Bank in 2010.
“I'll be targeting the week-long stage races initially, although it would be nice in the future to lead the team in a Grand Tour," continued Porte.
"My time-trialling is another area I want to focus on, and having guys in the team like Bradley Wiggins and Michael Rogers will help me no end and I'll be looking to learn as much as I can from them.”
Team principal Dave Brailsford said: "In Richie Porte, Team Sky have acquired one of the world’s most gifted riders and we are thrilled to have him on the team. The progress he has made during the last four years has been outstanding and he will undoubtedly strengthen our squad for 2012 and beyond.
“Richie is a rider that has everything - not only is he right up there with the best time-triallers in the world, he can also climb and is not afraid to suffer when he is told to work for someone else either.
"Now is his time to shine - whether that’s in a Grand Tour or on a stage race like Paris-Nice, we’ll have to see, but it’s a long season and he’ll get plenty of opportunities. I’m sure he’s going to be very happy with this team and we’re confident he will have a long and successful career with us.”
Porte's maiden victory was on the time trial stage at the Tour de Romandie.