SOUTH Devon's top cycle racer Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has joined the Team Sky squad for the 2013 season.
He said: "It's an incredible opportunity for me."
It's a career-defining move for the Mid Devon Cycle Club member, whose family home is near Plymouth.
He won the Tour of Britain last month to cap a season which has seen him rated in the French cycling press as one of Europe's brightest rising stars.
News of his signing to Sky was announced on the superteam's website this morning.
He joins riders including Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and runner-up Chris Froome in the Sky stable.
The 27-year-old has penned a two-year deal and will join the team on the back of a remarkable season with Endura Racing which has yielded nine victories to date.
The punchy climber got his campaign off to the best-possible start with two stage wins en route to the overall victory at the Tour de Mediterranean, and backed that up with another triumph at the Tour du Haut Var which saw him move top the UCI Europe Tour standings.
Two stage victories and the General Classification would follow at the Tour Alsace in July, and last month Tiernan-Locke claimed his highest-profile victory to date by becoming the first homegrown rider to win the Tour of Britain.
Those performances saw the Devonian rewarded with a place in the Great Britain squad for the World Road Race Championships, and also helped earn him his contract with Team Sky.
Tiernan-Locke is thrilled to have signed on the dotted line, and said: “It’s an incredible opportunity for me to step up from the UCI Continental ranks, and although I’ve really enjoyed my time at Endura, I couldn’t pass up the chance to join the world’s best team.
“When you look at the season Team Sky have had, to even be considered by them was a massive honour for me, so I’m over the moon to be riding for them in 2013.
“This season’s results have given me a lot of confidence and I can’t wait to compete at the very top of the sport. I’m under no illusions - it’s going to be a big step up - but with all the support I’ll receive from the coaching staff, and having such talented riders around me, I’ll definitely be looking to up my game.”
Team Principal Dave Brailsford believes Tiernan-Locke has a bright future ahead of him, and said: “At Team Sky we are determined that the best British talent have the opportunities to compete at the highest level of our sport. We have monitored Jonathan’s progress closely and are delighted to offer him this contract.
"He has worked hard to get himself to where he is today and deserves his chance to compete against the very best cyclists in the world.
“Next season will be a great opportunity for him. We believe he is in the best place to achieve his full potential and are looking forward to having him on the team."