Philip Deignan has signed a new contract with Team Sky, carrying him through to a fifth season with the British-based WorldTour squad in 2018.
The 34-year-old from the Republic of Ireland has been a reliable team member for the past four seasons, playing the role of tireless domestique. He says that the decision to stay on at the team didn’t take much thought.
“It was a very easy decision. I’ve been part of the team now for four years, I’ve settled in nicely and I’ve made so many good friends on the team,” said Deignan. “I feel almost part of the family now, so it was an easy decision to stay.
“I like the way the team works with everything being quite scheduled out and planned. I find I work better in that environment and the team provides all of that for me with such a professional set up and coaching.
“We’re so well looked after on this team and I can’t take it for granted just how well we’re all looked after. It’s been a great experience for me so I’m looking forward to it continuing.”
Deignan’s last victory was the 2013 Tour of the Gila, when riding for the US-based UnitedHealthcare outfit. He signed for Sky for the 2014 season and, although he has not added to his personal list of wins, he has contributed to many other riders’ successes.
“The season in general I was really happy with,” Deignan said when reflecting on 2017. “But it’s so easy on this team when you enter a squad with a big leader like a Froomey, Sergio Henao or G and any of these guys.
“It makes the job so much easier when you’ve got a guy who you know can win. Then you’re able to give 100 per cent and you’ve got full confidence. We’re a bit spoiled on Team Sky that we’ve got so many great leaders, but for me as one of the domestiques it makes my job a little bit easier.”
Deignan singles out his ride at the Giro d’Italia as the year’s highlights, despite having to deal with a change in team tactics during the race after leaders Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa crashed.
“It wasn’t how we wanted or planned it to be but we had to sort of move on after G and Mikel’s crash. It gave me a bit of freedom to be more aggressive in the mountain stages and go up the road.
“I hadn’t had the opportunity to do that earlier in the year and it changed the style of racing a lot and we were able to be more aggressive and go for stage wins and breaks. I really enjoyed that second half of the Giro so that was definitely a highlight.”