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Team Sky re-ups with young trio

2011 Tour de France, stage 21, Ben Swift
Swift leads a breakaway on the Champs-Élysées in the final stage of the Tour de France. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Team Sky will keep three of its most promising riders in-house, announcing Thursday that it has extended the contracts of Ian Stannard, Ben Swift and Peter Kennaugh going into the 2012 season.

All three joined Sky in its debut 2010 season and team boss David Brailsford said keeping them in Sky colors is important looking to further development of their potential.

“Having nurtured them on Great Britain’s Olympic Academy Program, we knew these guys had bright futures ahead of them, and they have all fulfilled that promise, and more,” Brailsford said. “It has been great to watch them flourish at the very highest level of the sport and we are delighted that they have chosen to stay with the team. I have no doubt at all that these riders will go from strength-to-strength in the future and we will continue to give them all the support they need to fulfill their massive potential.”

Stannard, 24, claimed his first professional victory at the Tour of Austria in July and was a member of Great Britain’s world championship-winning road team in September, and has performed successful lead-out duties this season for the likes of Swift, Greg Henderson and Davide Appollonio.

Kennaugh, 22, was the team’s only neo-pro during their opening campaign and earned his first Grand Tour ride at the Vuelta a Espana and this season marked himself out as a promising stage-race rider with a podium position at the Route du Sud and a top-five finish in the Tour of Poland.

After an encouraging first season, which yielded Team Sky’s first-ever overall victory at the Tour of Picardie, Swift came of age in 2011 with no less than five sprint victories during the opening five months of the season.

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