Team Sky have announced the signing on a two-year contract of a member of the soon-to-be-defunct HTC-Highroad team, but anyone hoping the news will bring to an end speculation over Mark Cavendish’s future will be disappointed – the rider in question is the 32-year-old American, Danny Pate.
Winner of the World Under-23 Time Trial Championship in 2001, a year after he turned pro, despite some early success after belatedly moving to Europe in 2006 with Jonathan Vaughters’ TIAA-CREF outfit, Pate chose to focus on working as a domestique rather than chase personal glory.
He remained with the team through its various incarnations for five seasons, riding alongside Bradley Wiggins as he clinched fourth spot in the 2009 Tour de France, but left Garmin-Transitions, as it had now become, at the end of the 2010 season to move to HTC, where he helped Mark Cavendish secure the green jersey this summer.
Speaking of his move, Pate said: “I was fortunate to have a number of offers from teams for next season. After riding with HTC-Highroad, I wanted to stay at the highest level in cycling and be part of the most professional team in the peloton. That is why I have chosen Team Sky and I am delighted to be joining one of the best-structured teams ever in cycling.
“Team Sky has a fantastic back room staff, some highly talented riders and a shared motivation to be the best. I know it’s a team that I am going to do well with and I am very proud to be joining this ambitious and exciting project. For the team my work as a domestique will remain my main focus and on a personal level I will be looking to target the World Championship TTT in 2012.”
Team Sky Principal, Dave Brailsford, commented: “Danny is a hugely experienced rider with a fantastic pedigree. As well as being one of the peloton’s strongest riders he is also a world-class time triallist and has shown again this year that he is one of the sport’s most talented riders.
“Throughout this season Danny has shown the calibre of bike rider he is with his performances for HTC-Highroad. We’ve seen him chasing down breakaways week in, week out and have been really impressed with the way he goes about his business. He’s capable of being on the front of the peloton for long periods, day after day, and that’s testament to the way he looks after himself both on and off the bike.
“His experience was also a major attraction for us and we will be looking to him to impart some of that on the younger guys in the team.”