Team Sky confirm Elissonde on two-year deal

25-year-old first Frenchman to ride for the team since 2010

After months of rumours, Team Sky have confirmed the signing of Kenny Elissonde on a two-year deal. It was reported last month that Elissonde had done a deal to join the team until at least 2018.

Earlier on Thursday, the team also announced that they had secured the services of Italian rider Diego Rosa. Team Sky will be Elissonde’s first new team since turning professional with FDJ in 2012 at the tender age of 20. The promising French climber says that moving to Team Sky, that has won the last two Tours de France, will allow him to move forward in his career.

"It's well known that Team Sky is one of the best teams in the world for climbers. I will learn a lot from all the staff and it's really exciting to be with the team,” Elissonde said. "I'm really happy and excited to be a part of the group next year. It's a really big step in my career."

Since stepping into the professional ranks, Elissonde has shown flashes of brilliance but has not found the consistency to regularly compete with the top riders. His palmares includes a stage victory at the 2013 Vuelta a Espana, which he came close to adding to on stage 14 of this year’s race. Following a lengthy battle, he finished second to Omar Fraile in the Vuelta's mountains competition.

In 2014, team principal Dave Brailsford told L’Equipe of his desire to win the Tour de France with a French rider. Despite this, French riders have been few and far between at the team and Elissonde will be the first to ride for the team since Nicolas Portal, now a sports director with the team, and Sylvain Calzati rode with them in 2010.

"It's very cool to be the first French rider on the team for six years. This is a great opportunity for me," Elissonde said. "I will try to learn from the team's leaders and be a good team player. I'm still young so it's important for me to learn, do the best I can, and improve at every aspect of the sport.

"I live in Nice and used to train with Ian Boswell and I know Nicolas Portal a little bit. I spoke with him two years ago so I'm looking forward to getting to know him more."

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