George Bennett has confirmed that he will ride with the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek squad next season, after earlier this year completing the Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge with the team as a trainee.
The 21-year-old will become one of the team's neo-pro's, joining a star-studded roster that already includes the Schleck brothers, Chris Horner and Fabian Cancellara among others.
His biggest result of 2011 came in the Ronde de l'Isard while riding for the Trek-Livestrong team where he picked up respectable second overall.
Speaking to roadcycling.co.nz Bennett explained that going to the WorldTour in 2012 was something that had come earlier than expected.
"I never really set time-specific goals, but I suppose I'd expected to be with Livestrong for two years. 21 is young to be there, but I won't be the first 21-year-old to ride in the WorldTour.
"I'm happy [to be joining RadioShack], I'm really proud of it, it's hard to take it all in. Now I just have to step up [my level], getting a contract is only the first step of being a professional."
Bennett joins countryman Greg Henderson (Sky) and Julian Dean (GreenEdge) in the sport's top tier. He has recently finished riding the Powernet Tour of Southland, where he also wrote a blog for Cyclingnews.