Add to Google

Deignan to take on leadership role at UnitedHealthcare

Posted 23 September 2011

Philip Deignan has signed a contact to ride for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team for 2012 where he will take on a new role as one of two team leaders for the American outfit.

Deignan is one of a number of rides who have been signed to strengthen the team as it prepares to take on more of a European schedule during its third year as a UCI Professional Continental outfit.

The Donegal man will complete his season with Team Radioshack at the Tour of Beijing and the Tour of Lombardy before focusing on the challenges that lie ahead.

Deignan told Irish Pro Cycling that he had considered joining the team for the 2011 season before eventually signing for Radioshack but that the door had been left open for him to revisit their offer.

“I spoke to the team at the end of last year and was going to go there but then I signed for the Radioshack team. They left the door open for me and said that if things ever changed there was always the possibility of joining the team,” said Deignan.

The merger between Radioshack and Leopard Trek left Deignan looking for a new contract for the 2012 season and his decision to revisit the offer that had been extended by the UnitedHealthcare team looks likely to change his career for the better.

“It is going to be a big change but I’m really looking forward to it.  This year Rory Sutherland was their main GC man but now I can give them a bit more strength in depth so that it is not always left on him,” said Deignan.

“The team will have a couple of cards to play in races and will be more competitive. I will be one of the leaders alongside Rory and whoever they sign in the meantime,” he added.

"They have a European schedule for next year so I may only be doing three or four races in the US, the Tours of California, Utah, and Colorado," he said.

The 27 year old is excited at the challenge of taking on a leadership role and believes that the time is right to capitalise on his experience of having ridden for Radioshack, the Cervelo Test Team and AG2R Prevoyance.

“Radioshack this year was more of a domestic role working for the top GC guys like Levi Leipheimer and I was perfectly happy with that. That was a great experience and I learned a lot from it but it will be nice next year to ride for my own chances in races,” he said.

“I learned a lot over the year and a lot about the type of training that I need to do. I had a lot of valuable lessons and I will take the benefit of that with me to UnitedHealthcare,” he said.

Deignan was especially pleased to put illness behind him and to come through the 2011 season without any difficulty and believes that this will also be a boon to his 2012 season.

“I was pretty consistent all year but there was never really any high point. I was going well in Colorado and Canada and my form was better than the start of the season, not that I was bad at the start of the year but I was just okay when I look back,” he said.

“If I was not good enough to get a big result myself I had to work for the team, but it was a good year all round. It has given me confidence and the strength to set myself up for next year. It was great to get through the season without any injuries or health problems and I can build on that,” he said.

Deignan revealed that he was surprised by news of the merger between Radioshack and Leopard Trek and that many riders involved had learnt of the merger on the Internet.

“It was similar to last year with the Cervelo team. Everything was kept very quiet then the rumours started going around. It was unfortunate the way it was handled. Most of the guys heard about it for the first time by reading it on the Internet,” he said.

The Donegal man will complete his end of season preparations at home in Letterkenny and is not too disappointed not to have been selected for this weekend’s world road race championships in Copehagen.

“It is not really a circuit that is suited to me. I would have loved to have gone but the three guys there are strong riders and the course will suit them. It is going to be an interesting race to watch from home,” he said.

News Archive

More News HeadlinesLatest

McCann best placed in Olympic road race

David McCann was the best placed Irish rider in...

Nicolas Roche almost pulled off an incredible...

Roche drops valuable time in GC battle

Nicolas Roche’s hopes of breaking back into the...

Roche drops valuable time in GC battle

Nicolas Roche’s hopes of breaking back into the...

Martin 7th on stage as Roche closes on Tour’s top ten

Dan Martin has taken seventh place on the...

Roche 13th in Tour GC amid reports of course sabotage

Nicolas Roche remains 13th overall in the Tour de...

Roche 14th as David Millar salvages Garmin-Sharp’s Tour

Nicolas Roche finished strongly on the longest...

Roche slips as Martin comes up short in break

Nicolas Roche has dropped out of the top ten at...

On form Nicolas Roche climbs to ninth in Tour de France GC

Nicolas Roche has climbed one place to ninth...

© McClure Media and PR