By Nigel Wynn
Climber Philip Deignan has signed to Team Sky for the 2014 season
from UnitedHealthcare, and will become the British-based outfit's first Irish signing.
The 29-year-old County Donegal man has spent the past eight years in the professional ranks, having ridden for Ag2r, Cervelo RadioShack and UnitedHealthcare.
Deignan won a stage of the Vuelta a Espana in 2009 as well as placing ninth overall in the race. This season, he won the Tour of the Gila overall in addition to claiming the race's mountains classification.
"Team Sky will offer me the kind of environment I need to be in to help me perform to the best of my ability," said Deignan via a Team Sky statement.
"I spent a few years in the WorldTour before moving over to America for two great seasons racing with UnitedHealthcare... I now feel like I'm at the level where I can race in the WorldTour in Europe so when I got the opportunity to head back there with Team Sky it was hard to resist."
Team Sky principal David Brailsford added: "We're well aware of what he is capable of on a bike. He's a climber of real quality and he will certainly strengthen our squad even further in stage race competition."
Deignan will line-up for the Tour of Britain over September 15-22 with UnitedHealthcare, where he will ride against a strong Sky line-up fronted by Bradley Wiggins.