Dutchman Steven De Jongh will join Team Sky in the New Year as Sports Director. The experienced 35-year-old ended his professional racing career at the Giro del Piemonte on Thursday.
De Jongh had raced for the Belgian Quick Step team for the last four seasons and is known for his victories and consistent results in the cobbled races in Northern Europe.
"I feel perfectly at ease about retiring now as a rider, because I'm really exited about joining Team Sky," said De Jongh. "It's a fantastic project and I think that they have given me the chance of a lifetime to become a part of it. I have a lot of ambitions about the sport, and I'm looking forward to being a part of a team that is starting up and will bring something new and different in cycling."
"It's totally new for me to take on this role, but I'm confident that I bring some experience and that I'll be working with great riders and fantastic colleagues at Team Sky."
When he announced his retirement in July, De Jongh had hinted that he might stay involved in cycling. "I will quit, but that doesn't mean I won't be active in cycling anymore - in what kind of function I don't know yet. I have some time to make a decision," he had said.
"Steven brings a lot of knowledge about the classics and the tough one-day races and will be a real asset to Team Sky," said the head of Team Sky David Brailsford. "He has the right character and personality to be an excellent sports director, and with him, we have another great addition to our management."
"He's a good communicator and has always been a highly-respected rider. I'm convinced that his hands-on knowledge will fit in perfectly with the technical staff we have for the classics and the other important races in our program," said Brailsford. "We want to build up our management with people with a broad spectrum of qualifications combined with the right attitude about working together. I'm convinced that Steven is the right person for the job."
Team Sky will begin competition in 2010 with the Tour Down Under as it starts its quest to win an invitation to the Tour de France. An initial squad of 25 riders will be supported by a team of coaches, technicians and support staff drawn from across the cycling world, many of whom work throughout the year with British elite and developing riders.
To date, Team Sky has revealed 16 riders for the new team with more to be announced. Six British riders - Geraint Thomas, Steve Cummings, Pete Kennaugh, Chris Froome, Ian Stannard and Russell Downing will line up with 10 international riders; Edvald Boasson Hagen, Thomas Lovkvist, Kurt Arvesen, Simon Gerrans, Juan Antonio Flecha, Kjell Carlstrom, John Lee Augustyn, Greg Henderson, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Morris Possoni.
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