Team Sky have confirmed their first new signing for the 2019 season, announcing that 21-year-old Jhonatan Narvaez will join the British WorldTour team after breaking his contract with Quick-Step Floors.
Narvaez crashed out of the Tour of Guangxi in China on Wednesday but impressed during the season despite his young age, taking second place at the Drome Classic and fifth at the Tour de Wallonie. The current Ecuadorian national champion was part of the Quick-Step Floors team that won the Hammer Series Limburg and the opening team time trial at the Adriatica Ionica Race.
As a junior, Narvaez broke a six-year-old world record in the individual pursuit. He first raced in Europe in 2016, finishing fifth overall at the prestigious Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc. He moved to the US-based Axeon Hagens Berman team for 2017 and finished in the top 10 at Volta ao Alentejo, before becoming the first South American winner of the prestigious under 23 Circuit des Ardennes stage race.
Narvaez was expected to stay at Quick-Step Floors until the end of 2020, having signed a three-year deal when he turned pro at the start of this season. However, he has been snapped up by Team Sky, with the British team announcing him as "part of the next generation of a blossoming young group of South American riders on the team", with Colomiban Egan Bernal already making waves and compatriot Ivan Sosa expected to follow from Androni Giocattoli next year.
"I’m very excited about this opportunity to join Team Sky and I look forward to working with the team and giving 100 percent so I can continue to develop as a rider," Narvaez said.
"I’ve been racing against the team this season and now I can’t wait to meet up with my new teammates. I know I am going to enjoy being a part of this team. It is full of big name riders who have achieved a lot and it also has a strong group of Latin American riders.
"I characterise myself as a bit of an all-rounder and next season one of my goals is to try and develop further so I can be in a position to help the team and also win races. I am 21 years old and I know on this team I will have great support to improve myself and grow as a rider."
Sergio Henao, Benat Intxausti and Lukasz Wisniowski have confirmed they will move on from Team Sky for 2019, with other riders expected to depart from the British team. Other new signings are expected to include Italian pursuiter and time trialist Filippo Ganna and Sosa from Androni, despite a dispute between the Colombian’s previous and new agents that is currently under investigation by the UCI. Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar joined Team Sky in September after the collapse of Aqua Blue Sport.
Team Sky will continue to have Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and Giro d’Italia winner Chris Froome - along with Wout Poels, Michal Kwiatkowski, Bernal and Gianni Moscon - as team leaders in 2019. Thomas signed a new three-year contract in the summer, while Bernal recently agreed a new five-year contract after his impressive debut season with Team Sky.