Sky signs Belarusian Vasil Kiryienka for three years

Vasil Kiryienka leaves Movistar to ride with Sky in 2013

Sky Pro Cycling, which earlier this week lost key Tour helper Michael Rogers to Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, has signed Belarusian climber and time trialist Vasil Kiryienka, the team announced Monday.

The former Movistar rider, who rode to third in this year’s world time trial championship behind Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) and German winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), joins the team on a three-year contract as it prepares to back 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins at the Giro d’Italia and runner-up Chris Froome at the Tour.

Kiryienka has two Giro stage wins to his name — stage 19 in 2008, and stage 20 in 2011 — and has the capacity to work in the service of team leaders, while also chasing his own results, according to a team statement.

The 31-year-old, who turned pro in 2007 after capturing national time trial titles in 2002, 2005, and 2006, came close to stage race glory in 2011, when he captured the points classification of Criterium International on his way to second overall in the general classification; he won the overall at that year’s Route du Sud.

“Vasil has won some big races and put in some impressive performances at the very highest level,” said Sky sport director Nicolas Portal. “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.”

This year’s Tour marked Kiryienka’s ninth grand tour appearance.

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

Sky began its 2013 preparations with a 12-day October training camp in Mallorca, Spain.