Mark Donovan is excited to continue his progression on the road as he prepares to make his debut appearance for Team Sky on Saturday.

The 19-year-old stagiaire will race this coming weekend in the Coppa Agostoni and Coppa Bernocchi double header, and in doing so continue a breakthrough season. 

Strong general classification performances at both the Baby Giro and the Tour de l'Avenir have seen Donovan offered the chance to sample life as a Team Sky rider.

"It was kind of surreal to be handed a bag of my Team Sky kit, but pretty cool," he admitted.

On a big year and some standout results riding for Team Wiggins he added: "It’s given me loads of confidence. Going into this year I said to myself ‘don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and do as well as you can'. These results were way above my expectations really.

"It’s shown that I’m there and I’m not worried, questioning ‘am I going to be at that level?’ as I kind of know [my level] and I wouldn’t have really expected to be where I am a year ago."
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Mark Donovan

Mark Donovan

Going into this year I said to myself ‘don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and do as well as you can'. These results were way above my expectations really.
As Donovan develops he is keen to remain as well-rounded as possible.

"I’d like to be a GC contender, but I’m not super focused on one thing. I’d like to see myself as being able to do alright in different areas - do alright on the flat and do alright on the climbs and hopefully be able to maintain that as I keep going.”

While the upcoming block of Italian races will be the first time the Cumbrian has lined up for Team Sky, racing in Italy is nothing new.

"Earlier in the year I did two Italian one-day races in April and they were super fun - a really great atmosphere and great races.

"I love racing in Italy, the Baby Giro was great with the atmosphere and the culture. You feel that it’s a really big race, it was so impressive."

A relaxed outlook and level head have seen Donovan thrive this season despite some big pressure races. On his next challenge he added: "To be honest I just kind of get my head down and do what I do - ride my bike.

"I don’t tend to let it faze me too much to be honest, I just like to try and enjoy it and have a good time and everything else goes away really."

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