After announcing his retirement from professional cycling earlier this week, Philip Deignan has said that becoming a father changed his perspective. The Irishman drew his 14-year career to a close on Tuesday, adding that it was something he’d been considering since the birth of his child, Orla.
Having spent the last five seasons with Team Sky, Deignan said it was the right time to hang up the bike with his wife Lizzie Deignan set to return to the pro ranks next year with the newly-formed Trek-Segafredo Women's team.
"It’s something I’ve been considering for the last few months and it wasn’t a decision I took lightly,” he told teamsky.com. “Becoming a father two months ago definitely added a different perspective to things. I had to factor that in when considering whether to continue racing next year, especially with Lizzie making a comeback now."
The 2015 road world champion has raced for Boels-Dolmans from 2013 until her departure at the start of this season. She took the 2018 season off due to her pregnancy. She is aiming to return to racing next year and is likely to continue racing until the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"I didn’t want to continue half-heartedly so I’m happy to give my full support to Lizzie now to work towards some great things. Things that I would never have been able to achieve," he said. "There’s plenty of fathers out there racing and it’s a fantastic thing if you can continue racing as a father. But I think in our unique position where we’re both racing it would have been really hard with the amount of days we’d both be away.
"The unpredictable nature of race programmes is another thing I had to factor in. It would have been really hard, but we would never have compromised Orla, so it would have been the bike and the training that would have suffered."
Deignan turned professional back in 2005 with AG2R Prévoyance, and has enjoyed stints at Cérvelo Test Team, RadioShack, and UnitedHealthcare before joining Team Sky in 2014. Reflecting back on his career, the Irishman highlighted 2009 as his most memorable moment.
"I didn’t win much as a pro you know – I only won three races – but a standout would obviously have been winning a stage in the Vuelta and finishing top ten there in 2009," said Deignan. "Obviously, then moving to Sky quite late on in my career was also a highlight. I got to start a grand tour in my home country and I never dreamt that I’d get the opportunity to do that. Those three days of racing in Ireland were very special as well."
In addition to his Vuelta 2009 stage victory, Deignan retires with overall victories at the 2005 Tour de Doubs and the 2013 Tour of the Gila as the main highlights on his palmarès.