Philip Deignan is looking forward to the start of a new chapter in his professional career as he prepares to meet his new RadioShack teammates for the first time when the American ProTeam begins its first training camp in Calpe, Spain on Monday.
"I know some of the guys a little bit but the first training camp is about getting to know your teammates and the staff, so I'm looking forward to it," Deignan told Cyclingnews.
"It's always a little bit daunting when you change teams because everything's new and it's just a new environment. I'm looking forward to it though. It's a big team, it's well organised and it has a nice race programme."
Deignan joined RadioShack on a one-year deal after his former squad, Cervélo, folded in September. The news compounded an already frustrating season for the Irish rider, who struggled to reach top form due to an ongoing virus. Tests revealed that the illness is now behind him and he has since focused his attention on re-finding the rich vein of form that led him to a stage win at the Vuelta a España in 2009.
"I've been home since I stopped at the Vuelta this year, so around three months," he said. "I've had a few tests. I had some right after the Vuelta and some more last month. Those last ones showed that my body had recovered and my white blood cells were all back up to a normal level, so I was given the all clear to start back training, so I'm fit and ready to go again."
He said is looking forward to reaching the warmer climes of Spain, after several weeks of indoor training in his native Letterkenny in north west Ireland.
"I'm heading off on Monday; if I can get a flight. Dublin airport was closed for most of yesterday but I think it should be right by Monday. There's not too much snow compared to the eastern part of the country.
"We've only got a couple of inches of snow, but temperatures are barely above freezing so I've been on the turbo for the last three or four days. I'm getting about two hours in the morning and then the gym in the afternoon, so that'll keep me going until we head off to the training camp in Calpe."
Deignan, 27, said he expects to commence his 2011 season at Spain's Clasica de Almeria in late February, though the make up of his overall race programme will be clearer after next week. For now, the priority will be getting to know his new teammates, his contact with the team having been mainly with team management, including directors Johan Bruyneel and Dirk Demol.
"I presume that at this camp we'll be organising race programmes as well as the training obviously so that'll become clearer next week," he said.
"I know some of the guys in terms of just saying hi to them at races. Obviously the team's English-speaking so that helps. I went to the service course in Belgium at the start of November and I met with Dirk Demol and some of the team's coaching staff. I spoke to a lot of people there and that was very interesting, and I've had a couple of phone calls with Johan as well, so we've been staying in contact.
"It's been relatively limited, but it's the time of the year when you are allowed a bit of freedom. When the serious stuff starts up after the New Year you have a lot more contact with the team then."
Deignan will remain in Spain for a week following the RadioShack gathering and will train with the An Post-Sean Kelly team, who will be in the same region.
"I'm going to stay on. The team camp is a week but I'm going to stay on an extra week because the An Post-Sean Kelly team are having a training camp the week after ours finishes. So I'll stay on and train with them for the company."