September 11 - Beijing Olympic gold medal winner Geraint Thomas (pictured) is one of six British riders signed by Team Sky to join 10 overseas riders, they have announced.

Thomas is among the first riders announced by Team Sky, alongside Barloworld team-mates Steve Cummings and Chris Froome as well as Tour of Ireland champion Russell Downing, Ian Stannard and Peter Kennaugh.

They have been joined by several foreign riders, including 22-year-old Edvald Boasson Hagen, ranked third in the world, and his fellow Norwegian, former under-23 world champion Kurt Arvesen.

Swede Thomas Lovkvist, Australian Simon Gerrans, Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha, Finland's Kjell Carlstrom, South African John Lee Augusty, Greg Henderson of New Zealand, Norwegian Lars Petter Nordhaug and Morris Possoni of Italy are the others.

The recruits are the first names of a 25-strong squad to be confirmed over the coming weeks by Team Sky, the British-look road team backed by satellite broadcasting giant BSkyB.

Brailsford, the British Cycling performance director who will oversee team affairs, announced at the start of the project that its aim was to cultivate a British Tour de France winner within five years.

Brailsford said: “In elite sport you have got to aim for the stars.

“There’s no point being involved if you don’t want to win the biggest race going.

"That doesn’t sit comfortably with me.

“When you sit down and you say what are we going to aim for, what are we trying to achieve with this?

"You’ve got to go for the biggest goal.

"Otherwise, you’re already favourite for second best.

“We have to set the goal to go out there and win the biggest race in the world.

"That’s what we want to do and it’s a question of analysing how we are going to do it.

“So yes, that’s the dream – to go and try to win the Tour de France.

"We will set fixed targets about how we think that can be achieved and that’s how we will work.

"That’s the stars as far as we are concerned, and we are going to go for it.”

Team Sky seem set to miss out on Bradley Wiggins, the treble Olympic gold medallist who finished fourth in this year's Tour de France, and Mark Cavendish (pictured), the winner of a record six stages in the Tour during the summer, who are contracted to Garmin Slipstream and Columbia-HTC respectively.

That currently leaves Thomas, who won a team pursuit gold in Laoshan Velodrome in Beijing last August as the best-known of the British riders.

Brailsford said: “Geraint has a pedigree on the track now, but he is a very, very talented road rider.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the best out of him yet on the road.

"He’s still got a lot of room for development.

“He’s come through our academy system, we know him well, he knows us well and how we work, and vice versa.

“He really is an exciting prospect, and he’s fast - he’s got speed and that is a key thing that we are trying to identify in a lot of riders.”

The foreign riders will play an important role in the new team, claimed Brailsford.

He said: "These international riders join a British contingent - a fundamental part of the team.

"There will be more riders joining them and we will announce them as and when we are able to.

"It is very exciting for us all to be pulling together the final parts of the team.''