Team Sky have announced that they have signed the Italian national time trial champion Dario Cataldo on a two year contract. In the short term, the signing will bolster Team Sky's strength in depth in supporting the GC ambitions of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, but the team says Cataldo himself could also challenge for the overall win in major stage races.
Earlier this month, the 27-year-old won one of the toughest stages of this year's Vuelta, taking stage 16 on the Cuitu Negru after spending most of the day in a break with Vacansoleil-DCM's Thomas de Gendt.
Born in Lanciano in the Abbruzzo region of central Italy, Cataldo showed early promise with an overall victory in the Baby Giro in 2006 and, after joining Liquigas, two stage wins in the Tour de l'Avenir the following year.
He joined Quick Step in 2009, ad has finished 12th overall in each of the past two editions of the Giro d'Italia, and has now ridden in eight Grand Tours.
“I was really excited when the opportunity arose for me to come to Team Sky because it is such a big team, and a big organisation," said Cataldo.
"Everybody knows this is the best team in the world, but there is still so much more they want to achieve.
“This last season has been my best and I’ve been able to achieve all my goals. I put in a good ride at the Giro, I was able to win the Italian time trial championship, a stage at the Vuelta, and then competed at the World Championships.
"I want to build on those performances now and set new goals with Team Sky.
“I can time trial, climb well and also win out of small groups. I am committed to giving my all for this team and will do anything that is asked of me.”
Team Sky Sports Director Sean Yates added: “Dario has repeatedly proven that he can be there on the climbs during tough stage races.
"He has an impressive amount of experience for his age, and moving to Team Sky with a heavy focus on stage racing he will get a lot of support to develop further.
“A rider of his strength has the ability to work for the team leaders, but also has the potential to progress and become a GC contender in his own right,” Yates concluded.