After riding the Giro d'Italia last year in support of team leader Richie Porte, Philip Deignan's omission from the Team Sky squad for the race this year points towards a possible first-ever start in the Tour de France this July.
Deignan is in his second year with the team and has impressed its management. Last week he finished fifth on a stage plus fifth overall in the Tour de Yorkshire while helping team-mate Lars Petter Nordhaug to overall victory.
He already assisted Chris Froome when the latter placed second overall in the 2014 Vuelta a España. Even though Team Sky will keep its Tour de France selection choices under wraps until closer to the race, his current good form plus the team's decision not to put him into the Giro d'Italia both point towards a likely start in the Tour.
Rather than riding the Giro, Deignan will be part of the line-up for the Tour of California. It begins on Sunday and runs for one week.
In other news, the organisers of the An Post Rás have confirmed that 19 domestic teams will be part of the line-up for this year’s race. Many of Ireland’s top home riders will participate, taking on the 15 international teams already confirmed.
The domestic line-up will include rider such as the recent Tour of Ulster winner Mark Dowling (Meath DID Electrical), race runner-up Eoin Morton (Dublin UCD) and stage winners Damien Shaw and Roger Aiken (Louth Team Asea).
The latter duo will also be joined by strongman Brian McCrystal on the squad.
The other teams include Cork Aquablue, a squad featuring Kerry Group Rás Mumhan winner Seán McKenna and former An Post-Chain Reaction Seán Kelly rider Ronan McLaughlin.
"The county riders are so important to the An Post Rás," said race director Tony Campbell. "The Rás was built on the county riders and we don't want that format to change."
The 2015 edition begins in Dunboyne on May 17th.