Team Sky has announced the signing of two of Britain’s top young cyclists – Owain Doull, who won Olympic gold last week in the team pursuit, and under-23 national road race champion, Tao Geoghegan Hart.
Doull, winner of the points jersey at last year’s Tour of Britain, where he was third overall, joins from Team Wiggins and will ride the rest of this season for Team Sky as a stagiaire before his pro contract kicks in on 1 January.
Geoghegan Hart joins from US Professional Continental outfit Axeon Hagens Berman, and this year won Italian race the Trofeo Piva and secured 12th overall at both the Tour of California and the Tour of Utah.
Both new signings revealed that as teens they harboured ambitions of riding for the British WorldTour outfit when it was first launched.
"When Team Sky formed in 2010 I was 16 years old and I'd just started racing properly as a junior,” said Welsh rider Doull, now 23.
“It's always been a bit of a boyhood dream to try and join Sky. So to finally be at a stage where I'm about to start racing for the team, and then joining the team properly in 2017, is a bit surreal.”
Geoghegan Hart, who comes from Hackney, joined Team Sky’s riders on a ride in London the day the team was officially unveiled in London in early 2010.
"I remember riding behind those guys and dreaming, just being in absolute awe,” he reflected. “It's not dissimilar to that now, dreaming to be on Team Sky, and I still look up to those guys.
"I guess you never know, but maybe it was small moments like that when I was young that inspired me to go out there, ride my bike every day, and brought me to the path I find myself on years later."
The 21-year-old, who raced for Team Sky as a stagiaire towards the end of last season, continued: "It's super exciting for me. There are guys here who have come through a similar path to me and also have a background on the track. I was on British Cycling's programme up until the age of 18 when I went to Axeon, so these are riders that I have looked up to for a very long time.
"To be team-mates with them is very exciting, and hopefully it will make the step up into being a WorldTour rider a little bit easier.
"This season was about getting another year stronger, becoming more consistent, and developing as a rider and as a person, before making the big step up from a Continental team to a WorldTour team. I'm 21 now, so I think this is the ideal time to be stepping up into a big team."
Doull, who like Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe comes from Cardiff, added: "I've ridden against Sky at some of the bigger races like the Tour of Britain for Team Wiggins. To see how they operate is pretty special.
“I've also been watching as a fan how the team race, tuning into events like the Tour and seeing how the riders go about that.
“It's something that's incredible to watch, and the way they approach big targets with all the preparation towards it – it's the next level."
Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford said of Doull: "Owain has consistently put in excellent performances on the track and the road and we think he has the potential to be an important part of the team.”
Referring to Geoghegan Hart, he said: "We've been following Tao for a long time now and obviously had him with us as a stagiaire at the end of last year.
“He's continued to show real progress this year and we're delighted he'll be taking the next steps in his career with Team Sky.”
Brailsford added: "From a personal perspective it's always great to be bringing young British talent into Team Sky and it reflects very well on the investment and support Sky has provided through the British Cycling programme, the Wiggins team and, of course, Team Sky.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.