Nicolas Roche, Philip Deignan and Roger Aiken will round out the Irish team in the elite men's road race at the UCI World Road Championships in Varese, Italy on Sunday. The three-man Irish team will be severely outnumbered by the bigger teams like Luxembourg and Italy, who have qualified for nine riders under the UCI regulations for team ranking.
However, Cycling Ireland performance director Frank Campbell is delighted that the team will be riding in the best shape possible.
"The team is looking terrific," said Campbell, "particularly Deignan and Roche. Roche's ride in the Vuelta España was a superb result for him and for the nation as a whole to have somebody back riding in a 'Grand Tour' at such a level. It was superb for him to finish thirteenth overall, get second on a stage and six or seven top tens and if he brings that form to this course it will be useful. This course suits him more than the rest of the team.
"Deignan has just finished the Tour of Poland and although he didn't get super results, he rode very strongly. He's back from Beijing and has already signed for the new Cervelo team next year and he is looking forward to these Championships."
"Roger just has to take the form that he has gained from riding in Ireland in the Rás and the Tour of Ireland. We have asked him to bring that super form with him to help the boys as much as possible," said Campbell: "We don't have enough riders to control the race like the Italians.
"We will have to use the experience and expertise of Roche and Deignan to get Roche to the 200km plus mark as fresh as possible. That's where we think the race will be decided. 260km is unknown for most of the riders here. We have two guys riding here at the highest level and they know what it is all about."