Tour of Beijing: Philip Deignan showing return to strong form with second on stage 3
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Friday, October 7, 2011

Tour of Beijing: Philip Deignan showing return to strong form with second on stage 3

by Shane Stokes at 5:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Irishman over problems of 2010, looking forward to fresh start next season

Philip DeignanTaking his best result since winning a stage and finishing ninth overall in the 2009 Vuelta a España, Philip Deignan went less than a bike length from winning stage three of the Tour of Beijing. The 28 year old Irishman rode impressively in the finale, provoking the winning break by attacking alone at the base of the final climb of Erpulang, opening a decent lead, and nearing the summit with a solid advantage.

The team RadioShack rider was joined just before the top by compatriot Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Vuelta a España runner-up Chris Froome (Sky Procycling), and together the three riders hammered it to the finish. They just held off the fast-chasing bunch and sprinted it out for the win, where Deignan was edged out by Roche.

“I was a bit sad to be so close and then lose the victory,” he confirmed afterwards in a team release, rueing what might have been. “I started my sprint a bit too early. It’s nice that we’re two Irishmen in the front, but I would have preferred to take the win myself.”

Still, in light of a 2010 season which was hampered greatly by illness and injury, 2011 and in particular the second half has been a big relief. He rode strongly for the team in the WorldTour GP Cycliste de Montreal, dragging the bunch along in pursuit of breakaway riders, and also performed solidly in other events. But it’s stage three of the Tour of Beijing which gives a flash of the form which served him so well in the Vuelta of two years ago.

The perception is that if he is given the opportunity, he could perform well in the final races back in Europe.

It may be 2012 however before he really gets a chance to show what he can do. Deignan recently signed a contract with the UnitedHealthcare team and will have a leadership role next season. It might seem a step back from being with a UCI ProTeam but, in reality, it should give him more responsibility and more opportunity, as well as the chance to help the American team grow.

In some ways the role will be a little similar to the one he fulfilled in that 2009 Vuelta. At the start of that race he was told by his-then Cervélo Test Team that he would be a protected rider and that he should aim to ride as well as he could for as long as he could, seeing how things ended up.

Netting a stage win to Avila and finishing ninth in Madrid confirmed that when his form is good and he gets the scope to ride for himself, that he has the engine and climbing ability to do very well.

Now, with his health back and morale rising, it’s reasonable to think that next year the talented Irishman will go one step higher on podiums than he did today.


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