Team Sky has confirmed its second signing in three days, with Spanish climbing domestique David Lopez joining from Movistar. The news follows the signing earlier this week of Italian rider Dario Cataldo from Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
The 31-year-old joined the Spanish team in 2007, when it was called Caisse d'Epargne. Previously, he had spent two seasons at Euskaltel-Euskadi.
He achieved the biggest win of his career on Stage 9 of the 2010 Vuelta, dedicating his victory to Team Sky carer Txema Gonzalez, who had died two days earlier, leading to the British team's withdrawal from the race.
“I am very happy to have signed for Team Sky," said Lopez. "This last year has been a challenge and I’m really looking forward to starting this new chapter of my career with a modern and forward-thinking team.
“As soon as Team Sky approached me, there was nobody else I wanted to sign for and I want to work as hard as I can to gain success for the team. Most of the time that will be for someone else, but if the chance arises for me as well, then I will definitely try and take it. The most important thing though, is that everyone is happy with my work.
“I already have a special relationship with riders like Xabier Zandio, Rigoberto Urán and Sergio Henao, and [Team Sky sports director] Nicolas Portal is a good friend as well, but I want to make plenty more friends here and really integrate myself within the team.”
Portal, who rode for Caisse d'Epargne between 2006 and 2009 before spending a season as a rider at Team Sky then moving into his current role, commented: “David is a great rider to have on the team and a perfect fit for Team Sky in terms of his approach and his personality. He has a lot of experience and is a calming influence for all those around him.
“I know from riding alongside David that he is very impressive on the climbs, whether he is riding for himself or riding for a team-mate. He is very loyal and hard working and we are excited to have him on the team.”
Besides Lopez and Cataldo, Team Sky have so far signed another Movistar rider, Vasil Kiryienka, Gabriel Rasch of FDJ-BigMat
and Bontrager Livestrong's Joseph Dombrowski.
Heading for the exit are Juan Antonio Flecha, who moves to Vacansoleil-DCM, the young Italian sprinter Davide Appollonio, who goes to AG2R, Lars Petter Nordhaug, who goes to Rabobank, while Mark Cavendish is almost certain to leave, with Omega Pharma-Quick Step increasingly seen as his most likely destination.
Also missing from the team next year will be Michael Barry and Jeremy Hunt, both of whom are retiring.
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.