Danny van Poppel signs for Team Sky

Dutch sprinter expected to grow as a Classics rider

Team Sky have unveiled the latest name in their string of signings for 2016, confirming that Danny van Poppel has joined from Trek Factory Racing.

The 22-year-old follows fellow youngsters Alex Peters and Gianni Moscon, along with Michael Golas, in being officially announced as part of the British team’s roster, with three more riders set to be unveiled before the end of the week.

Van Poppel confirmed his time at Trek would come to an end not long after the Vuelta a Espana. Despite sprinting to a maiden Grand Tour victory on stage 12, he explained how he had lost the confidence of the team, who didn’t offer him a new contract like they did his brother Boy.

"He was offered a new contract and I was not. They want to keep Boy there to lead out the sprints. The team manager [Luca Guerlina] didn’t have much confidence in me any more. I had to go. None of the rest of the team gets it. I don’t understand it myself," said Van Poppel at the time.

The Dutchman is understood to have had various options away from Trek to continue at WorldTour level but he feels that Sky is the best place for him at this early and formative stage in his career. Along with the breakthrough Vuelta victory, this year Van Poppel has also won two stages at the Tour de Wallonie along with a stage at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen.

"I am about to complete my third year as a professional and feel ready to take my career to the next stage. I grabbed the opportunity to join Team Sky with both hands," he said on Friday in a statement from the British team. 

"With the knowledge and support they are able to offer, I believe I can grow, improve my performances, and support some of the world's best riders on the very biggest stage."

Van Poppel is a promising sprinter but Team Sky see the Dutchman becoming an important part of their Classics arsenal, too. With Bradley Wiggins having left the team this spring, Geraint Thomas set to focus more on stage racing in the future, and Bernard Eisel rumoured to be changing teams, the door is open for someone to complement Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe. Van Poppel rode a selection of one-day races this spring, finishing fifth at Scheldeprijs and 45th at his debut Paris-Roubaix.

"Danny achieved a terrific stage victory in the Vuelta a Espana recently, proving he's a strong sprinter, and we also see him fitting into our Classics group in the seasons to come," said Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford.

"We are very excited to have signed Danny. He burst on to the scene at an early age and is one of the youngest riders to have ever started the Tour de France. At 22 he's still young, and this change in environment will allow him to continue his development."

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