Roche and Deignan part of Team Sky squad for Giro d’Italia

The three-week Grand Tour begins Friday in the Netherlands

Philip Deignan is part of a nine-man Team Sky squad in the Giro d’Italia. Photograph: Harry Engels/Getty Images

Irish cycling will have two representatives in the 2016 Giro d'Italia, with Nicolas Roche and Philip Deignan part of a nine-man Team Sky squad in the race.

The three-week Grand Tour begins Friday with a 9.8km individual time trial in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. As it did in 2014 in Belfast, the race is starting one day earlier than usual to facilitate a transfer on Monday back to Italy.

Roche and Deignan have both shown strong form of late. The former was second on the final stage and second overall in last week’s Tour de Yorkshire, while Deignan rode well in support of team leaders in the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Giro del Trentino.

Both will be required to ride for Sky's Giro leader Mikel Landa. However, they may also get personal opportunities between the race start and its conclusion on May 29th in Turin.

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In other news, the announcement of the New Zealand national team has brought the number of confirmed overseas squads for this year's An Post Rás up to 13.

The five riders for the race are part of the national team line-up aiming for the track events at the Olympic Games this summer.

They include former WorldTour pro Hayden Roulston, a two time Olympic medallist, and 2015 world championship team pursuit winners Regan Gough, Dylan Kennett and Pieter Bulling.

The fifth member of the team is Nick Kergozou, who won the omnium event at last year's Dublin Track Cycling International.

The An Post Rás rolls out of Dublin Castle on May 22nd.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling