Rasch joins Team Sky for 2013

Team Sky have announced Gabriel Rasch as their first signing ahead of the 2013 season.

The 36-year-old Norwegian is one of the most experienced and respected riders in the peloton and joins Team Sky after one season at FDJ-BigMat.

Rasch is widely regarded as a Classics specialist, but also has five Grand Tour appearances to his name, and will represent his country for the fourth time at the World Championships on Sunday.

He burst onto the scene in 2001 by finishing runner up at the Norwegian Road Race Championships, and just two years later had made the title his own.

After a two seasons riding with fellow Team Sky riders Edvald Boasson Hagen and Lars-Petter Nordhaug at Team Maxbo Bianchi, Rasch turned professional with Credit Agricole in 2008, and the following year became one of the founding riders of the Cervelo TestTeam, which would later morph into Garmin-Cervelo.

He joined FDJ-BigMat at the start of 2012 and is now looking forward immensely to beginning the latest chapter in a long and successful career.

He said: "Team Sky were the number one team I wanted to join and I'm really happy to have signed. I know a lot of the riders already - and a lot of the performance staff as well - and I'm sure I'll settle in quickly.

"Everyone here seems so down to earth and on the road they strike the perfect balance of enjoying their jobs whilst being serious at the same time. Everything is really well organised and the fact that they are an English-speaking team is a big plus for me.

"Next season I hope I can get into the Classics team because I have a lot of experience with that type of riding, and I'll be happy to work as a domestique during the stage races as well.

"Another role I'm looking forward to taking on is advising the younger guys on the team. Over the years I've learnt how to make the best use of my energy, and how to get in the best positions during key parts of the races, and it'll be nice to pass that knowledge on."

Team Sky's Race coach Rod Ellingworth agrees and is delighted to have sealed the services of one of the sport's hardest-working professionals.

He said: "It's great to have Gabriel on board. Not only will he be a huge asset to us in the Classics, his attitude and experience will be of massive benefit to the team.

"The riders and performance staff that have worked with him in the past only have good words to say about him, and having watched him closely over the last 12 months, we know he has a great deal to offer the team."