Deignan ‘really excited’ to return to WorldTour with Team Sky
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Deignan ‘really excited’ to return to WorldTour with Team Sky

by Shane Stokes at 6:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Tour of Gila winner becomes first Irish signing for team

Philip DeignanAfter indications that a deal might be in the works plus a statement from the team that bringing an Irish rider onto the squad would be of strategic importance to the sponsors, Team Sky has announced that it has signed a two year deal with the climber Philip Deignan for 2014 and 2015.

The 2009 Tour of Spain stage winner and ninth place overall finisher has competed with the Cervélo Test Team, RadioShack and UnitedHealthcare in recent years and, after two years with the latter squad, will return to the WorldTour next season.

“I’m really excited to get the opportunity to race for the biggest team in the world and to be able to ride for some of the best riders in the world,” said Deignan, who will become the first Irish signing in the team’s history. “It’s going to be a big challenge but I’m really looking forward to it.

“It’s a fantastic team where nothing is left to chance with the coaching and the diet – which will really suit the type of rider that I am. Team Sky will offer me the kind of environment I need to be in to help me perform to the best of my ability.”

Deignan has had some frustrations due to illness and injury since his fine 2009 Vuelta, but this year has had a very consistent run of form. After top sixteen finishes in the early season Tour de San Luis, Volta ao Algarve and Settiman Coppi e Bartali, he won the Tour of the Gila in May, placed third on a stage and ninth overall in the Tour of California and was second in the Tour de Beauce.

More recently, he placed sixth overall in the Tour of Utah and tenth in the USA Pro Challenge.

Those results helped seal Team Sky’s interest, and he’s now looking forward to a new challenge.

Dave Brailsford believes he’ll fit in. “Everyone at Team Sky is very excited to have Philip join us from the start of next season,” said the team principal.

“We’re well aware of what he is capable of on a bike. He’s a climber of real quality and he will certainly strengthen our squad even further in stage race competition.

“He brings experience to the team and we believe he belongs at this level. It’s great to finally have an Irish rider on our roster and I’m certain that under our coaches and performance staff there is a lot more to come from Philip.”

Deignan will be part of the UnitedHealthcare team for the upcoming Tour of Britain and is a near certainty to be part of the four man Irish squad for the world road race championships. He will likely join Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche there, plus a fourth rider.

After that, he’ll finish out the season and start building for 2014.

“I spent a few years in the WorldTour before moving over to America for two great seasons racing with UnitedHealthcare, who I really must thank for such great support both on and off the bike over the past two seasons,” he said.

“I now feel like I’m at the level where I can race in the WorldTour in Europe so when I got the opportunity to head back there with Team Sky it was hard to resist.”


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