Doull focusing on Classics with Team Sky in 2019

Welshman heads into a third year with the WorldTour squad

After signing with Team Sky for the 2017 season – joining from the Team Wiggins Continental outfit – Owain Doull has spent the past two seasons with the British WorldTour outfit gaining experience in the Classics and working for the team in shorter stage races.

A year-long extension to his contract will see the 25-year-old Welshman continue to focus on one-day races, where he hopes to see further improvement, and possibly earn himself a start at his first Grand Tour.

"My main aim is the Classics again," Doull said on his team's website on Tuesday. "I want to carry on making that progression. I was happy with the difference between my first and second years in the Classics and I think with an extra few per cent next year, being that bit better, will allow me to go that much further into the races. I hope that jump will be a big one."

Doull was part of the gold-medal-winning British team pursuit squad on the track at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, but has knuckled down to a more road-focused career since joining Sky in 2017, having first spent time as a stagiaire with the team at the end of the 2016 season.

However, it wasn't the most auspicious start to racing at WorldTour level in 2017, as Doull fell ill in Australia with a burst appendix ahead of the Tour Down Under in January.

He returned to racing at the Abu Dhabi Tour at the end of February, but then crashed in the last kilometre of the opening stage, and was then a non-finisher in a string of one-day races and at the spring Classics, only truly hitting his stride again at that year's Tour of California in May.

The 2018 season proved to be a lot more fruitful, with a decent Tour Down Under under his belt to start the season, followed by 12th place at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

Respectable placings at this year's spring Classics included 11th place at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and 50th place and 49th place at Strade Bianche and Paris-Roubaix, respectively.

"I found my feet," Doull said of his second season at WorldTour level. "That first year with the team, I felt a little out of my depth. I sometimes felt like I was trying to survive and get through race-to-race.

"This year I've found that I could have an impact on those races, and it's been nice to get back to the level I should have been after the 2016 Olympics.

"I feel like I've learned a lot here," he continued. "It seems like the obvious and natural place to carry on that progression and hopefully next year I'll see a bigger improvement again in the areas and races that I want to do well in."

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