Fresh from making history at the 2012 Tour de France with Bradley Wiggins' yellow jersey victory - the first in the race's history by a British rider - Team Sky has moved quickly to bolster its ranks for the remainder of the season by announcing that promising Italian rider Davide Martinelli has joined the team as a stagiaire.
The 19-year-old from Brescia won the 2011 Italian junior time trial championship and finished second in the U23 version this season. He will start out at the Vuelta a Burgos (August 1-5) and becomes the first stagiaire that Team Sky has employed in its three years of racing. Martinelli knows Sky riders Salvatore Puccio and Davide Appollonio from their time together in the national U23s and the son of Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli can't wait to get started in northern Spain on Wednesday.
“I am delighted to have been picked as a stagiaire by the number one team in the world,” Martinelli said on the Team Sky website. “It is going to be an incredible experience, riding along with guys who are making history in cycling - people I used to merely watch on TV a short time ago.
“I know both Davide and Salvatore as they rode the same U23 team as me. I will try to enjoy the experience, and learn a lot with a view to stepping up to professional ranks in the (hopefully near) future. Being a stagiaire, my main focus will be on learning and gaining experience, trying to understand the best way to approach professional racing by focusing on my teammates’ behaviour, both inside and outside races.
“I see myself as a rouleur with time trialing as a main strength. In June I finished second in the Italian [U23] time trial championships in my first year in this category. I have also got quite a good sprint and manage to hold on decently on the climbs."
Along with the news that Martinelli was joining the team, Sky also announced its squads for the main early August races.
Team Sky squad for Vuelta a Burgos (August 1-5): Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa); Sergio Henao (Col); Davide Martinelli (Ita); Danny Pate (USA); Ian Stannard (GBr); Ben Swift (GBr); Rigoberto Uran (Col); Xabier Zandio (Spa)
Team Sky squad for Eneco Tour (August 6-12): Davide Appollonio (Ita); Alex Dowsett (GBr); Jeremy Hunt (GBr); Christian Knees (Ger); Thomas Lofkvist (Swe); Salvatore Puccio (Ita); Luke Rowe (GBr); Chris Sutton (Aus)
Team Sky squad for Clasica San Sebastian (August 14): Davide Appollonio (Ita); Sergio Henao (Col); Christian Knees (Ger); Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Nor); Richie Porte (Aus); Michael Rogers (Aus); Rigoberto Uran (Col); Xabier Zandio (Spa)