Martyn Irvine's fine performances on the velodrome over the past couple of years have landed him a professional contract with American team UnitedHealthcare for 2013, it was announced.
Irvine has long been Ireland's most versatile cyclist. Major victories such as a stage win at the An Post Ras and four national titles on the road sit comfortably alongside three national track titles and two silver medals at the UCI Track World Cup.
Although he has ridden for small semi-professional outfits such as the Irish-based Pezula team and the Asian-based RTS Racing, Irvine has not been given the chance to show what he can do in some of the world's biggest races until now.
"It's great. It's just the break I needed," Irvine said. "I've kind of been going against the grain for a while and haven't had the break I needed and the fact that Mike (Tamayo, United Healthcare's team manager) is giving me this chance is awesome, and hopefully I can grab it and show him that I'm well worthy of it."
Letterkenny pro and former Vuelta a Espana stage winner Philip Deignan is also expected to rejoin the squad for a second year this week.
"Martyn is our little secret," said Tamayo. "He comes from a track racing background where he represented Ireland at the Olympics and after seeing his work ethic and his huge horsepower, adding Martyn to our sprint team was a no brainer."
Irvine will stay at home for the next few weeks in Lusk to recover from his recent efforts at the Track World Cup. He will then head to Majorca for training before the world track championships in Minsk.