Belarusian finished 10th in this year's Giro d'Italia...

Team Sky has announced the signing of HTC-Highroad’s Kanstantsin Siustou, the 29-year-old Belarusian rider who finished tenth overall in this year’s Giro d’Italia with HTC-Highroad.

If the name sounds familiar in a not-quite-right kind of way, that’s because In the past, the rider’s surname has more often been rendered in Roman script as Sivstov, not least by his existing team and the UCI in its world rankings; apparently the cyclist himself prefers Siustou, which is also what appears on his passport, so that’s how we’ll refer to him in future.

World under-23 road race champion in 2004, Siustou’s biggest pro win came in the 2009 Giro d’Italia when he won Stage 8 in Bergamo following a solo breakaway. This year, besides that top ten finish in a very tough edition of the Giro, he also clinched a top ten placing in the Criterium du Dauphiné, won by Bradley Wiggins.

“I am very happy to be joining Team Sky and look forward to riding with my new teammates,” said Siustou.  “The team is a strong one and I know a lot of the guys here already. I have ridden in the past with Thomas Löfkvist, Michael Barry, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Michael Rogers and Morris Possoni, and they have all told me how good it is here in terms of the organisation and the way they look after you.”

“If I get the chance to show what I can do in the week-long stage races and one of the Grand Tours next year I will be very happy. It was great to finish in the top 10 of the Giro this year, and even though my legs weren’t all that good, I was also able to finish eighth at the Critérium du Dauphiné a few weeks later. Hopefully I will be able to ride even better next year if I have more team-mates there to support me in these types of races.”

Team Sky Principal, Dave Brailsford, added: “In Kanstantsin we have signed a versatile and strong rider who will be a fantastic addition to our team.  He showed with his top-10 finish in arguably the hardest ever Giro d’Italia last May what an exciting talent he is. His consistency throughout that race was impressive and he showed why he is so highly regarded within the peloton.

“Kanstantsin is a rider who is also more than happy to dig deep in support of team mates when he is not going for the race win himself. Add to that his strong time trial abilities and you can see how big an asset he will be for Team Sky in 2012.”

Siustou is the second former Under-23 world champion that Team Sky has signed from HTC-Highroad in two days, following yesterday’s announcement that Danny Pate is joining the British outfit.

With no news yet regarding the potential signing of new world champion Mark Cavendish, we can’t help wondering if that reflects an aggregation of marginal gains in terms of 2012 signings of HTC-Highroad riders with a rainbow jersey in the wardrobe ahead of the main event?

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.