Mark Cavendish – Britain’s first elite men’s road World Champion in 46 years – has confirmed he will be riding for Sky Procycling in 2012.
The acquisition of the World’s best sprinter with 20 Tour de France stage wins to his name continues the remit of Sky Procycling Team Principal and British Cycling’s Performance Director – Dave Brailsford – to create a professional road team with a core of the best British riders, with the ambition of being world leaders.
A dominant British performance at the road World Championships, built on a team which included five Sky Procycling team members, ultimately resulted in Cavendish taking the most prestigious one day race of the calendar.
Brailsford said: "Mark is the greatest sprinter of his generation and is well on his way to becoming the greatest of all time. He is a rider of exceptional talent who has proved his pedigree at the very highest level of our sport.
“Mark is a born winner and what excites me most is the attitude he brings to all the teams he rides for. We want to inspire more fans to get into cycling and I can think of no one better to help us do that. We are delighted that the new world champion will be riding for Team Sky next season."
Cavendish now joins countrymen Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Ben Swift, Alex Dowsett, Ian Stannard, Russ Downing, Jeremy Hunt, Peter Kennaugh and Luke Rowe to ride for Sky Procycling.
Wiggins was among those who welcomed the arrival of Cavendish, saying: "I think I speak for everyone in the squad when I say that we’re all delighted to have Cav joining us at Team Sky. He is the best sprinter in the world and has an energy and passion for cycling that is infectious.
"Team Sky has enjoyed a fantastic second season and Mark’s signing is another statement of our intent for next year and beyond."
Geraint Thomas, who along with Wiggins was part of the Great Britain squad which helped Cavendish to World Road Race glory last month, said: "Cav joining Team Sky is fantastic news. In many ways it’s like he’s coming home - the team has a number of riders and support staff that he grew up with and it won’t take him any time to settle in.
"I think everyone saw that when we helped him to victory for Great Britain at the Worlds, and we are all looking forward to helping him deliver more wins for Team Sky."
And Ben Swift, who has netted five sprint wins himself this season, is relishing riding alongside the World Champion, saying: "The young sprinters here are always looking to learn and having someone like Cav on the team is going to help us a lot.
"We know each other very well already, but seeing how he goes about things on a daily basis will be really good for me personally and he’s always happy to give tips and advice. It’s great to have him on the team."
British Cycling's President, Brian Cookson added:
“It is fantastic that Mark is joining Team Sky and I am sure that every fan of the sport in Britain will be excited by this news.
“The team has made stunning progress over the past 12 months as highlighted particularly by performances at the Tour de France and more recently the Vuelta a Espana. The addition of Mark will only serve to further strengthen the team and I’m particularly pleased that arguably the best known British rider in the world will now be riding for a British team.
“Much of the work we do at British Cycling is about using the success we enjoy at the top level to inspire others to get on their bikes. With someone like Mark having been all the way through our system from his earliest years and now joining Team Sky, that link between inspiration and participation grows ever stronger, further increases the profile of our sport, and will hopefully encourage more people to join the ever growing ranks of cyclists across the nation.”