Ireland’s Philip Deignan placed ninth in the Vuelta a España two years ago, but still continues to learn. This week he races towards the end of his sixth Grand Tour participation, the Giro d’Italia.

“Every one you do is always different, sometimes you start good and sometimes you finish bad, your sensations are always changing,” Radioshack’s Deignan told Cycling Weekly. “I am still learning.”

Deignan rocketed to the top at the Spanish Grand Tour in 2009, he won the leg to Avila and closed the race ninth overall behind Alejandro Valverde.

He suffered a setback ahead of the Giro d’Italia, he became sick and stopped training for a week. However, over the course of the Giro’s three weeks he has gradually improved, even if the results don’t show his progress.

The 27-year-old is 51st overall after two and a half weeks of racing in what many consider as the hardest Grand Tour in some years.

“There’s been so much climbing from the start and then those three mountain stages. Every day, long stages and it’s pretty stressful, technical roads and descents. It’s taken its toll on the riders, you could see it today, everyone was really suffering.”

He finished 89th yesterday on the Alpine run to Tirano, which covered the Passo Tonale and Aprica.

“This race is the toughest Grand Tour I’ve seen in my career,” Radioshack’s sports director, Viatcheslav Ekimov told Cycling Weekly. “Look at all the transfers, all the stages of six or seven hours. The three days in the mountains. It makes no sense, there’s no tactics left, it’s just like a survival camp, the race is from the back.”

Ekimov raced the Tour de France 15 times, the Giro d’Italia twice and the Vuelta a España twice. He complemented Deignan’s time trial and climbing abilities, but agrees with his rider, that he has more to learn.

Philip Deignan, Giro d“He’s a strong rider, but sometimes he needs to find a way to motivate himself and to be more aggressive in the race. If I was his coach, I’d suggest that he finds a way to fight for a good place in the peloton, not at the back,” added Ekimov.

“Obviously, we expected a little bit more from Philip, but okay, we started the race with a clear leader Tiago Machado. Many times, Philip was in the service of Machado, so we can’t complain.”

Deignan and his team also may be stressed by the police drug search on Monday, the race’s second rest day. Deignan’s attitude seemed to change when Cycling Weekly asked about it, and why Radioshack’s team manager, Johan Bruyneel left the same day.

“The police came, they searched the bus and the truck, they found nothing. We have nothing to hide anyway,” Deignan continued.

“Bruyneel was only planning to stay for that length of time, he didn’t go home because of that.”

He added that he’s focused on finishing his fifth Grand Tour. Ekimov said that Deignan may be suited to Saturday’s stage to Sestriere. If not, Deignan may have more chances in the Tour de France. He is currently on the long list of 15 riders.

Giro d’Italia 2011: Latest news

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What riding the Giro has done for Peter Kennaugh

Millar’s time trial practice run

Nibali gives up hope for Giro d’Italia win

Contador ignores Armstrong doping investigation

Giro d’Italia News Shorts (May 24)

Controversial Crostis climb removed from Giro route

Sky leader Lofkvist loses more time at the Giro

Giro contenders struggle with Contador’s dominance

Contador widens Giro advantage but Tour doping case waits

Porte reflects, one year after Giro success

Le Mevel goes on attack for Giro’s pink jersey

Giro fines Contador for missing press conference

Cavendish responds to ‘team car’ accusations at Giro

Giro d’Italia News Shorts (May 15)

Giro’s Sicilian cyclists proud to face Mount Etna

Contador surprises at Giro with attack ahead of mountains

Contador minds food at Giro as CAS decision nears

Weening supported by Rabobank and model Kroes

Local lad Appollonio bears fruit in Fiuggi

Giro d’Italia News Shorts (May 12 edition)

Blythe finding way in second Grand Tour

Leopard-Trek withdraws from Giro d’Italia

Leopard-Trek uncertain to continue in Giro

Tuesday’s Giro stage in memory of Weylandt

Giro doctor describes actions to save Weylandt

Wouter Weylandt killed in Giro crash

Giro news shorts (May 8)

Cavendish likely to take Giro lead tomorrow

Giro 2011: Who will win?

Giro d’Italia 2011: Stage reports



Stage 17: Ulissi prevails in controversial Giro sprint



Stage 16: Contador lords it over the rest in Giro TT



Stage 15: Nieve wins mountain marathon as Contador continues at the top



Stage 14: Anton conquers Zoncolan in shortened stage



Stage 13: Contador consolidates Giro overall as Rujano takes stage



Stage 12: Cavendish holds off Appollonio to take second victory



Stage 11: Gadret grabs dramatic stage win



Stage 10: Cavendish opens his Giro account



Stage nine: Contador storms Etna to take Giro lead



Stage eight: Gatto springs late attack to take win



Stage seven: Neo-pro De Clercq wins by a whisker



Stage six: Ventoso steals Giro stage six win


Stage five: Weening holds on to take stage and maglia rosa



Stage four: Tearful Farrar and Leopard-Trek lead riders across stage four finish line



Stage three: Vicioso victory overshadowed by Weylandt crash



Stage two: Petacchi wins as Cavendish takes lead



Stage one: HTC-Highroad wins Giro’s opening team time trial

Giro d’Italia 2011: Photo galleries

Stage 17 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 16 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 15 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson

Giro d’Italia 2011: Live text coverage



Giro d’Italia stage 16 live text updates



Giro d’Italia 2011 stage 13 live text updates



Giro d’Italia 2011 stage 11 live text updates



Giro d’Italia 2011 stage seven live text updates



Giro d’Italia 2011 stage five live text updates



Follow the 2011 Giro d’Italia live with Cycling Weekly

Giro d’Italia 2011: Start list



Giro d’Italia 2011: Start list

Giro d’Italia 2011: TV schedule



Giro d’Italia 2011: British Eurosport TV schedule

Related links



Giro d’Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index