Philip Deignan looks to have a strong chance of returning to the WorldTour level and possibly even Team Sky in the New Year.
Deignan’s pronounced return to form this term continued with his taking of sixth place overall in the Tour of Utah when it ended in Park City on Sunday.
The Letterkenny native was consistently in the top places all week and finished 2:27 down on overall winner Tom Danielson of the Garmin Sharp team.
Twenty-nine-year-old Deignan has returned to climbing form this year.
The Irishman won the Tour of Gila in May and then went on to take third on a stage plus ninth overall in the Tour of California.
“We are in talks with a couple of teams, and it does look likely he will be back in the WorldTour next year,” his agent Andrew McQuaid said. “However there is nothing concrete at this point in time.”
Deignan has been rumoured to be of interest to Team Sky, but McQuaid plays down any suggestion that a deal is in place.
The British squad would not be drawn on whether or not the climber was on its wish list.
“We never comment on riders currently under contract with other teams, even during the transfer period,” stated Fran Millar, the Head of Business Operations.
Millar did however acknowledge that signing an Irish rider could be advantageous for the WorldTour squad.
“I can confirm Ireland is of strategic importance to Team Sky, along with the UK, Italian, North American and German markets,” she said. “Our shareholders have interests in each of those territories.”
Deignan also aiming for selection for the Irish team at the world road race championships, knowing that the hilly course there could suit the squad.
The UnitedHealthcare ride is a strong climber and has already made clear he is willing to ride for Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner and Tour de France stage victor Dan Martin in Firenze, Florence.
The road race championships will be held between September 22-29.