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Urán boosts British team's climbing strength
Team Sky has announced three signings for 2011 as they look to build on their debut season in the sport.
The British team has signed young Colombian climber Rigoberto Urán, veteran Spanish domestique Xabier Zandio and Britain's Alex Dowsett.
21-year-old Dowsett won the European Under 23 time trial title and is targeting a medal in the same event at the world championships on Wednesday. He rode for the Trek-Livestrong team in 2010 and will boost the number of British riders at Team Sky to nine, six of whom are under 25.
Urán is still only 23 but has been a professional since 2006 and was third in the 2008 Tour of Lombardy. He turned down an offer from Movistar to sign with Team Sky. Zandio also opted for Team Sky after five years at Caisse d’Epargne.
"These signings will strengthen our squad even further for our second season on the road. Rigoberto and Xabier join from Caisse d'Epargne and both should come to the fore in the mountains in the Grand Tours, an area we have been keen to focus on,” team principal Dave Brailsford said in a statement issued by the team.
“These three new additions sum up our squad perfectly - a blend of developing talent and Grand Tour experience with a strong British influence at the heart of it."
"Rigoberto is a super-talented rider who has some great results to his name this year and we are delighted that he has committed his future to Team Sky. He's a young rider with fantastic prospects, exactly the sort of person we have been keen to get on board. Xabier is a rock-solid climber who brings us real experience; he is someone who will give his teammates absolutely everything in the mountains on exactly the sort of stages which decide Grand Tours."
"I'm delighted that Alex is joining us; he's a young rider who has come through the British system with flying colours and will fit perfectly into our set-up. He's a real all-rounder with an incredibly bright future and we are looking forward to him developing with us at Team Sky and achieving his full potential.”
Team Sky has been linked with several other big-name riders for 2011, including Fabian Cancellara, Riche Porte and Michael Rogers. All three have not yet confirmed who they will ride for in 2011.