Cyclist Philip Deignan has been officially confirmed for the 2014 Giro d’Italia.
This year’s event will start with three stages in Ireland from Friday, May 9, and the Letterkenny native is part of the 10-man Team Sky roster alongside Juul Jensen, who was born and raised in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow, but represents Denmark - the country of his parents.
Thirty-year-old Deignan fractured his left collarbone last September during the Tour of Britain, requiring the insertion of a plate, and then suffered a fractured right collarbone in February near his training base in Monaco.
Team Sky doctors let the injury heal naturally and Deignan returned to the peloton at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali last month but missed out on Tour of the Basque Country after he failed to recover from a bout of illness
However, on Tuesday Deignan was back in the saddle at the Giro del Trentino in Italy, alongside teammates Bradley Wiggins, Dario Cataldo, Kanstantin Sioutsou, Salvatore Puccio and Ian Boswell for the four-day race.
Despite lining up at the race with only six riders, compared to the eight-man rosters of the other teams, Sky finished third in the opening day team time trial.
“Thankfully, I have enjoyed some success in the professional ranks and now that the Giro is starting in Belfast, I will hopefully have the opportunity to take part in a Grand Tour in my home country,” Deignan said last week before he had heard the official word.
“This will be a very special occasion and I know the Irish fans will welcome the world and the Giro with great passion.”
Dan Martin, a stage winner in last year’s Tour de France, will take part in the Giro as part of the Garmin Sharp team and his cousin Nicolas Roche, who won a stage and finish fifth in the General Classification in last year’s Vuelta Espana, could be the team leader of Tinkoff Saxo.
The first three days of the Giro will be held in Ireland, marking the first time the race has ever begun outside mainland Europe.
It will begin with a team time trial in Belfast on May 9 and continue with a road race stage the following day starting and finishing in Belfast before stage three takes the riders from Armagh to Dublin on May 11.