Donegal's Philip Deignan has announced that he is retiring from professional cycling.

The Letterkenny man has been part of Team Sky for the past five years.

He became a pro rider back in 2005 when he was signed by AG2R Prévoyance.

He then cycled for a number of other teams, namely Cervelo Test Team, RadioShack, and the United States based UnitedHealthcare.

The peak of his career came in 2009 when he won a stage of the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) and was ninth in the overall classification.

It was the first time since Irish cycling’s glory days of the Sean Kelly - Stephen Roche era that an Irish rider had won a stage on one of the Grand Tours.

Now 35, Deignan qualified to represent Ireland at the 2008Beijing Olympics where he finished in 81st place.

He released a short statement this morning in which he stated that he was grateful to be going out after an enjoyable career and still healthy.

He said: “With a combination of sadness but also a huge sense of pride and optimism I would like to announce my retirement from professional cycling.

“As a 15-year-old riding around Donegal I never dreamt that I would go on to make the sport I love my job for 14 years.

“I appreciate all the opportunities that have come my way and to so many people who have helped me during my career, thank you.”

“There have been lots of ups and downs. But to be able to finish my career healthy and at the top of my sport with the best team in the world, makes me grateful and proud. On to the next challenge.”

When he joined Team Sky, many observers felt that he was in with a real chance of getting selected to compete in the Tour de France, the greatest cycling event in the world, but he was unlucky to be overlooked on a couple of occasions.

He is married to Lizzie (nee Armitstead) and recently became a father for the first time.

She is a professional cyclist from England and has won numerous world track and road racing titles, as well as British Commonwealth titles.

In the 2012 Olympics, she won a silver medal in the road race.

The couple have lived in Monaco for several years.

Photo: Philip Diegnan pictured in Letterkenny after conducting a Q&A session with local cyclists in An Grianan Theatre back in 2015.

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