Philip Deignan confident of moving right up in Colorado’s USA Pro Challenge
His performances make him an almost certain pick for the four-man Irish team which will dispute the World Road Race Championships at the end of September
Philip Deignan is featuring well in the USA Pro Challenge race in Colorado.
Philip Deignan continues his progress towards what seems likely to be a WorldTour contract next season by riding strongly in the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado.
Deignan was sitting just 46 seconds off the yellow jersey heading into the gruelling fourth stage late yesterday evening, placed 19th overall but looking set to move right up. The stage was due to conclude on the summit finish of Beaver Creek and was pinpointed before the race by Deignan as being one of the two most important stages.
The second is today’s 16.1 kilometre uphill time trial in Vail. If he can perform strongly in both, he should move well into the top ten in the general classification.
Speaking to The Irish Times before the race, Deignan said that he believed he was in better shape than he was for the Tour of the Gila and the Tour of California earlier this season. He won the former and placed ninth in the latter. More recently, he was sixth overall in the Tour of Utah.
Deignan’s performances make him an almost certain pick for the four-man Irish team that will dispute the World Road Race Championships at the end of September. “To be honest, I would be pretty disappointed if I wasn’t selected,” the UnitedHealthcare rider said. “I think I have shown this year that I am climbing very well.”
‘Like to go’
He pointed out that he had passed up the chance to ride the worlds if the circuit was not right for him. That’s different this year. “I really feel this year that the circuit is good for me and I can do something to help Dan and Nico in the race. So I would really like to go, and I would be disappointed if I wasn’t selected.”
Both Martin and Roche will begin the Vuelta a Espana this weekend, with Martin targeting at least one stage win and, if things work out, a high place in the general classification. Roche is also looking for a high overall finish in the race, particularly after having to sacrifice his personal chances for his Saxo Tinkoff team-mate in the Tour de France.
Matt Brammeier is also hoping to be selected. He believes he can help Martin and Roche early on. “I think I can do a good job in the first 150-200kms of the race. I have no dreams of making it to the finish on such a course but I think I can ride well in a big peloton, stick with the guys, keep them fed and watered and generally just use my experience to be there for them if they need anything. “I don’t think we can go into it with a big team tactic, the key is to be keeping Dan in a good position and of course as fresh as possible for the finale.”
Meanwhile the young An Post Grant Thornton Seán Kelly rider Jack Wilson picked up a fine result this week, racing to 14th in the 1.1-ranked Druivenkoers-Overijse in Belgium on Wednesday. The 20 year old plus the Suir Valley 3 Day winner Sam Bennett will be part of the team’s selection for the Dutch Food Valley Classic in the Netherlands today.
Friday - Sunday: Portaferry 3 Day. Stage 1 starts 7pm. Saturday: Irish criterium championships, 5pm in Mardyke; Connacht hill climb championships; Leinster youth championships, Enniscorthy; Wallace Caldwell road race, Ballymena, 11am. Sunday: Corkagh Park women’s race, 6pm.