Belarusian TT specialist and two-time Giro stage winner will also give Sky some extra firepower in the mountains

Team Sky has announced the signing of Vasil Kiryienka from Movistar on a three-year contract. The 31-year-old, winner of a Giro d’Italia stage in 2008 and 2011 and world championship time trial bronze medallist in September this year, joins fellow Belarusian Kanstantsin Siustou at the British ProTeam.

A strong climber, Kiryienka strengthens the potential support for Bradley Wiggins in next year’s Giro or Chris Froome in the Tour de France following the departure of Mick Rogers to Saxo-Tinkoff.

He also won the overall title in the 2011 Route du Sud, and is experienced in slipping into breakaway groups and then being able to leave his fellow escapees behind, as happened in both his Giro stage victories.

His 2011 stage win, on a final road stage on the penultimate day that took in the imposing Colle delle Finestre and finished at the ski resort of Sestriere, came after he’d attacked from a break of 13 riders. He eventually won by nearly five minutes, dedicating his win to Movistar team mate Xavier Tondo, who had been killed in a freak domestic accident just days before.

Speaking about his move, Kiryienka said: “I am very happy to be joining Team Sky and I’m confident I will fit in without any difficulty as there are people I've known for a long time in the squad.

“Team Sky have enjoyed a fantastic season in 2012 and I’m looking forward to contributing towards even greater success over the next three years, whether that means working for myself, or for someone else.

“With the help of Team Sky I want to continue developing as a rider. Everyone has made me feel welcome and I am keen to getting started.”

Team Sky sports director Nicolas Portal added: “Vasil has won some big races and put in some impressive performances at the very highest level. His stage win at the Giro d’Italia last season was phenomenal, and we were all impressed with the way he was able to battle on and take the victory.

“He was third at the World Time Trial Championships and has a lot of other victories to his name. He’s such a strong rider and is going to be a great signing for the team.

“He can perform very highly in his own right, or in a team capacity, and we know what he is capable of. It puts us in even better shape heading into the big tours of 2013.”

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.