Irish cyclist Philip Deignan has signed for Team SKY for next year. The 29 year-old from Letterkenny, Donegal, has spent the last two years with UCI Professional Continental Team UnitedHealthcare in the US, but will join up with the strongest team in professional cycling, SKY, at the end of the season.
Deignan has had an up and down couple of years following the steady progress of his early career. He joined the AG2R Prévoyance team in 2005 for whom he won the Tour de Doubs in his first season before making his Grand Tour debut at the 2007 Vuelta a Espana.
He moved on to the Cervelo team in 2009, where he spent two season. During that time Deignan won a stage of the Vuelta and finished ninth over all in '09.
The Donegal man moved on to the Radioshack team in 2011, formerly of Lance Armstrong, where he played a major role in the team yet the they did not feature in any grand tours for the past couple of years.
With six grand tour appearances behind him, Duignen is now back in a position, with SKY, where he can challenge again, as SKY are at the forefront of the professional game, having provided the winners of the last two Tours de France.
Speaking about the move, Duignan has 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.”
Team Sky’s principal Dave Brailsford said of the Letterkenny native,
“Everyone at Team Sky is very excited to have Philip join us from the start of next season.
“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.”
On Twitter, Team SKY have reacted to the news.
— Team Sky (@TeamSky) September 6, 2013
cover image: sportsfile