Team Sky has announced signing talented Irish rider Philip Deignan for the 2014 season.
The 29-year-old from County Donegal joins the team after a successful second season with the UnitedHealthcare squad which has seen him win the Tour of the Gila, finish runner-up at the Tour de Beauce, and claim top-10 finishes at both the Tours of Utah, California and the USA Pro Challenge.
Deignan turned professional with AG2R Prevoyance in 2005 and won the Tour de Doubs in his maiden season before making his Grand Tour debut at the 2007 Vuelta a Espana. After joining Cervelo TestTeam in 2009, Deignan helped the squad to four stage victories at the Giro d’Italia before sealing his first Grand Tour stage win at the Vuelta, riding to ninth place overall in the process.
Although illness hampered much of his 2010 campaign, Deignan was named in that year’s Vuelta a Espana squad before making the switch to RadioShack in 2011. His sixth Grand Tour appearance came that year at the Giro d’Italia and he also aided the team’s successes at the Trofeo Inca, Tour de Suisse, Tour of Utah and inaugural USA Pro Challenge before penning a two-year deal with UnitedHealthcare.
His prowess in the mountains and selfless attitude mean Deignan has all the qualities to become one of Team Sky’s most valued climbing domestiques, although a proven track record in some of the sport’s biggest races means he is more than capable of challenging for top honours himself.
Next in action at the Tour of Britain, Deignan is the second new name to be unveiled ahead of the 2014 season, following the announcement in June that Nathan Earle would also be joining the squad.
On the prospect of becoming the first Irish Team Sky rider, Philip Deignan said: “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. 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.
“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. 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 Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “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.”