Deignan on top of world with Sky deal

Following weeks of speculation, Team Sky yesterday confirmed Ireland’s Philip Deignan will join their ranks for the 2014 season.

Deignan on top of world with Sky deal

The Donegal man, who celebrates his 30th birthday today, will link up with some of the most talented riders in the world at the world’s biggest team — one that has claimed the last two Tours de France through Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins.

Though Dan Martin, Nicolas Roche and Martyn Irvine have perhaps stolen the limelight with some stellar performances and results this year, Deignan has had a marvellous season himself and, crucially, is back climbing with the very best in the world after a number of difficult years that were blighted by injury and sickness.

“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,” said Deignan.

Meanwhile, Roche remains second overall at the Vuelta A Espana after another difficult day in scorching heat.

Roche crossed the line in the same time as race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and a host of other big names, thus there was no shake-up in the overall general classification.

He still trails by a 31 seconds but today is likely to see fireworks — and big time gaps — as the 155km trek from Baga to Collada de la Gallina in Andorra features four vicious climbs, the last of which is a category one climb and will whittle down the number of contenders.

Roche admitted the Vuelta so far has been “amazing”. He calculated that he’s won 18 different jerseys (for leading different classifications) in the first fortnight of the race, but he wants to keep his feet on the ground.

Asked what his objectives could be for the rest of the race, he said: “I’m so close to the podium it would be stupid to say I didn’t want to get the podium, because I’d be lying, and I want to do that.

“It’s achievable but because it’s achievable. I don’t want to get overexcited about it. I’ve got top riders just behind me on GC and if I do get overexcited, that’s it, it’s over.”

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