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Deignan stays in US as Leipheimer eyes up Colorado win

Posted 18 August 2011

Philip Deignan has been chosen to ride the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (Tour of Colorado) instead of the Vuelta á Espana where he will provide support for Team Radioshack leader Levi Leipheimer.

Leipheimer will start the seven-day event as one of the race favourites and will be relying upon Deignan to provide the same level support that helped him to a second victory in last week’s Tour of Utah.

The American faces a much tougher challenge time out with Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and podium finishers Frank and Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) among the starters for the race which gets underway next Monday.

Jani Brajkovic, who finished third overall at the Tour of Utah, has returned to Europe to lead the Radioshack team alongside Andreas Kloden at the Vuelta á Espana which gets underway on Saturday.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge (Tour of Colorado) will showcase Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and Deignan will have key role to play in protecting Leiphemer’s race ambitions in the high mountains.

The seven stages feature passes which rise to more than 12,000 metres above sea level with the high altitude certain to have an impact on those riding for the overall General Classification.

Deignan’s natural climbing ability will be a boon to Leipheimer and the Donegal man will start the race with the advantage of having had time to acclimatise to the high altitude. 

Leipheimer’s success at the Tour of Utah has left team manager Johan Bruyneel optimistic that the team can surprise again in Colorado and he has chosen Deignan as part of a strong line-up.

The 27 year old is joined on the team by Ben Hermans, Ben King, Jason McCarthy, Dmitriy Muravyev, Ivan Rovny and stagiaire George Bennett. The team will be directed by Alain Gallopin and Axel Merckx.

“The characteristics of the race suit Levi well, but the competition will be very hard in this new Tour of Colorado. Cadel Evans, Frank and Andy Schleck, Robert Gesink and Tom Danielson will all be motivated too,” said Bruyneel.

“Part three of the cycling season starts now and it’s time for us to show our real value again and to show the Team Radioshack jerseys on the podiums. Levi, Andreas and Jani have recovered from their injuries. They are ready to show how they could have performed in July,” he added.

“Cycling is not an exact science. Being in the condition of your life in July doesn’t mean you will have the same form one month later. The courses are different and the other riders are different. However I am confident that we can surprise again,” he continued.

Brajkovic and Kloden will be supported at the Vuelta á Espana by American US Pro champion Matthew Busche who makes his Grand Tour debut, Markel Irizar, Geoffroy Lequatre, Tiago Machado, Nelson Oliveira, Sergio Paulinho and Haimar Zubeldia.

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