Team Sky annonuces Van Baarle signing

Dutchman to focus on Classics and short stages races

Team Sky has confirmed the signing of Classics talent Dylan van Baarle for the 2018 season. Van Baarle had been heavily linked with the team after it became clear that his previously announced extension with Cannondale-Drapac was only a verbal agreement.

Van Baarle joins a large number of signings for the British squad, including David de la Cruz, Jonathan Castroviejo, and up and coming talents Egan Bernal and Pavel Sivakov. According to earlier reports in the Dutch press, Van Baarle has signed a two-year deal with the squad.

"I've raced against Team Sky for the last four years and you can see it's maybe the best team in the peloton. Now I'm joining the team and I think I will suit the team well," Van Baarle said in a team press release. "I'm really looking forward to getting started."

Cannondale-Drapac had announced a two-year extension with Van Baarle in mid-August. However, when a sponsor fell through a few weeks later the Dutchman began looking elsewhere. The team did eventually find a sponsor and said that it would enforce existing contracts but as Van Baarle had not yet put pen to paper he was still a free agent.

Van Baarle turned professional with Garmin-Sharp in 2014 and won the Tour of Britain later that season. Since his debut season, Van Baarle has shown potential in the Classics and enjoyed a breakthrough with fourth place earlier this year in the Tour of Flanders. The Classics will remain a cornerstone of his ambitions but Van Baarle also has his eyes on the shorter stage races.

"I hope to get some good results next year in the Classics, but I think in small stage races I can also do a good GC performance," he explained. "I have a good TT so that's also one of my goals for the next few years, to show that I'm not only a Classics rider, but I also want to develop myself in the one-week stage races. I think Team Sky is a great place to help me do that.

"Finishing in fourth place at Flanders this year has given me a lot of motivation. Not just being so close to the podium, but also because I finished sixth the year before I could see the improvement in myself, and that's what I want to keep up."

Van Baarle had been set to ride at the World Championships this week but a crash at the Tour of Britain has forced him to sit it out. 

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