A stellar start to the season has been rewarded with a Team Sky contract for Tasmanian Nathan Earle.
Yes I was positive that I could land a pro contract. Australian racing is stronger and more recognised than it has ever been.
The 25-year-old Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers rider will join the WorldTour team from 2014 on a two-year contract with further details to be worked out.
"I am not sure of my race program as of yet, It's still days," Earle told Cycling Central. "My role in the team will be domestique duties. That may change in my second year, but one step at a time."
Earle said there was interest shown from other teams, with was unaware of any approach from Australian World Tour outfit Orica-GreenEDGE.
"I got the offer from Team Sky through my manager Andrew McQuaid, he manages many top riders including some of my friends, and had been in talks with Sky for awhile.
"Yes I had some interest from other teams but no, not from GreenEDGE, that I know of."
Earle has enjoyed an enviable first start of the year. He opened the season on a high by winning the Arthur’s Seat stage of the Herald Sun Tour.
From there he took his stellar form to New Zealand for Oceania’s only UCI Tour the New Zealand Cycle Classic. Earle claimed the Queen Stage solo and the overall race victory the next day.
A stage win at the Tour de Perth and the overall Tour of Toowoomba title saw him perform at home in the Subaru National Road Series.
In Asia he added to his success with stage wins in the Tour de Taiwan and Tour de Japan and third overall at the Tour de Kumano.
"Yes this year has been great for me," Earle told Cycling Central.
"I think it's just that along with my hard work ethic in training everything has just fallen into place for me and I've managed to be able to keep it going with good health, support from the team and just riding the wave of results the team and myself have been achieving.
"I've been going this well before and in great form just haven't been able to continue it without sickness, injury and bad luck.
Earle said that he was confident of a professional contract with a WorldTour team given the growing strength of the Australian racing scene.
"Yes I was positive that I could land a pro contract. Australian racing is stronger and more recognised than it has ever been.
"But I think this alone is not enough. You need to be getting solid results in Australia but also need to mix those with some solid results in overseas tours and races.
"I was able to do this and I think those sort if results combine is enough. Especially if they are on the same sort of stages.
"For me that's hilly with hill top finishes, I was able to show that at any race domestically or internationally I am very dominant on these types of finishes."
Earle will join Richie Porte at Team Sky after riding with the fellow Tasmanian in 2008 and 2009 on the Praties squad, which preceded Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisors.
“We're delighted that Nathan will be joining us from the start of the 2014 season," said Team Sky Head of Performance Support, Tim Kerrison. "He has shown great qualities and a strong mentality that we look for in Team Sky riders and he will be a great addition to the team.
"“The Australian system has identified him physiologically as being a real talent and we’re starting to see that with his results on the road.
"He knows and has ridden with riders on the team and they’ve attested to his ability. He’s a rider who we think we can take from the development ranks and turn him into a quality WorldTour rider."