Doull signs with Team Sky for 2017-18

Team WIGGINS rider will turn focus from track to road after Rio Olympics

Owain Doull (Team WIGGINS) wanted to keep his two-year deal with Team Sky a secret until the team broke the news, but when your current team boss lets the news slip, you have to roll with the punches.

Bradley Wiggins said in an interview with Cyclingtips last week that he was proud of his development program, which had delivered its first big WorldTour signing with Doull to Team Sky. And with that, the cat was out of the bag.

Doull signed the deal last year, with the caveat the he'd ride for Team Wiggins this year as part of his preparation for the Rio Olympics, where he hopes to compete in the team pursuit for British Cycling.

"It's kind of nice for it to be out there and stuff," he said before the start of stage 3 at the Tour of California. "It's been a lifelong ambition to turn pro, and to be able to do it with Sky is quite a big deal for me, so I'm really happy.

"It's a familiar environment, which I think is important. Obviously with it being British, and knowing a lot of the guys there is a nice feeling as well."

Doull's performance in last year's Tour of Britain helped nail down the contract. The 23-year-old finished third on GC and won the points classification, thanks to finishing no lower than 11th in all eight stages.

The Welshman also won the U23 British road championship last year, but with another ambition to win an Olympic gold, he and Team Sky agreed to defer his start on the WorldTour team for one year while he focused on the track.

"The great thing with Sky, obviously, is that they understand the track, and I was fortunate that they let me sign my contract last year so that I didn't have to be chasing results on the road and I could put weight on for the track," he said. "Obviously, that extra muscle isn't beneficial for the road, but for the track it will make a big difference. So they gave me that flexibility, which is great."

Doull said he's not sure what his program will look like next year, but he'd like to focus on the Classics eventually.

"Obviously, I'll be a neo-pro next year," he said, "so I'll kind of be learning the trade is the main thing, really, and to kind of try and fit in with the team as well."

One thing Doull won't be doing next year is racing on the track.

"I'm going to stop with the track for the foreseeable future, but I'd never say no to going back to it," he said. "I do love the track and it's something that I've done for awhile. As it stands I'm really excited to go back to the road after the Olympics, but yeah, I'd never say no to going back."

For the moment, however, everything is focused on the velodrome in Rio.

"My two goals have been to turn professional and win the Olympics," he said. "One's done, I guess, so just one to go now hopefully."

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