Team Sky have announced the signing of Spanish climbing domestique David López on a two-year contract ahead of the 2013 season.
A strong and reliable rider who is renowned for infiltrating breakaways or working on the front of the peloton, López brings with him a wealth of experience from an eight-year career in the professional ranks which have yielded 11 Grand Tour appearances to date.
The move represents a change of direction for the 31-year-old, having competed for Spanish teams since turning pro with Euskaltel-Euskadi in 2005 before going on to spend six years with the current Movistar set-up (formerly Caisse d'Epargne).
López claimed the biggest win of his career in 2010, taking a solo victory on the ninth stage of the Vuelta a Espana after a tough day in the break.
Also a stage winner at the 2007 Tour of Deutschland on a similarly mountainous day, López has made his name as a dedicated team player - most notably as part of the Vuelta-winning Caisse d’Epargne squad in 2009.
After finalising his deal, López said: “I am very happy to have signed for Team Sky. 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 Nicolas Portal is a good friend as well - but I want to make plenty more friends here and really integrate myself within the team.”
Sports Director Nicolas Portal was López's team-mate for three seasons at Caisse d'Epargne and believes the Basque rider has a number of attributes which will be of huge benefit to the squad.
He said: “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.”