Irish professional Philip Deignan hasn’t raced much since this year’s Giro d’Italia, but the climber is showing signs that he is coming into good form in advance of the Tour of Ireland, which runs from August 21st – 23rd.
The Cervélo Test Team rider was involved in an early seven-man break on yesterday’s final stage of the Vuelta a Burgos. He attacked the move and tried to solo to the summit finish of Lagunas de Neila but was finally overhauled inside the final four kilometres. He had enough left to take tenth on the stage, and net tenth overall behind race winner Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne).
“I felt really good today and made it in the break away", he said afterwards. "I stayed there until we had only 3.5 km to go. It was a very good race for me, and overall the Vuelta a Burgos was very positive. I had a longer break after the Giro and competed in just a few races after that.
“I must say I felt better day-by-day and now feel prepared to participate in my home race, the Tour of Ireland, next week. I’m really motivated and looking forward to this event."
After finishing fifth on a mountain stage and seventh overall in the Vuelta a Castilla y León earlier this season, Deignan was selected to ride the Giro d’Italia. He finished fifth on a stage there but any chance of a high overall placing was affected by a succession of crashes.
The 25-year-old fell hard early on in the race, and went on to have another four spills, including one in the final time trial in Rome. There had been talk that he could make his Tour de France debut this year but, battered and bruised, the team decided to send others instead.
Another Grand Tour could well be on the cards, however. Cervélo has said that the announcement of the team lineup for the Vuelta will be made this week, and his strong Burgos showing and improving form makes it likely he will be part of that squad.
A good showing in the Tour of Ireland would give him additional motivation for the Vuelta. This year’s race lacks the high mountains that Deignan performs well on, but is lumpy enough to enable him to do well. Riders such as Mark Cavendish (Columbia HTC) and Lance Armstrong (Astana) will boost the crowds and, as the leading Irish rider due to take part, Deignan will have plenty of vocal support.
He will be joined by Jeremy Hunt, Davide Appollonio, Dan Fleeman, Daniel Lloyd, Roger Hammond and Martin Reimer in the Cervélo Test Team lineup for the 2.1-ranked race.