A friend of mine recently booked a hotel for 29 people . He is always trying to get a deal on something and the hotel in question was no exception to his system of bargaining . After a number of phone calls a deal was finalised . A very competitive room rate was agreed but the bulk of his effort went into organising the meal which resulted in an unusual ‘deal’ . For €15 each member of the group would get a main course , a pint and a packet of crisps .
There are many forms of ‘deal making’ and to some it comes naturally , whilst others have to work at it . The price or monetary value is not always the deciding factor . On Thursday last Letterkenny man Philip Deignan found himself being offered a deal .
After a dramatic stage of the Tour of Spain , Deignan was at the head of the race as it entered the final kilometers with only Czech rider Roman Kreuziger for company . They had a 20 second gap on Jakob Fuslang and almost 40 seconds over the remnants of a breakaway group with whom they had opened a 7 minute lead over the main bunch .
Kreuziger was ninth in this years Tour de France and is a former winner of the Tour of Switzerland and was looking strong as both riders approached the cobbled climb into the walled part of the city of Avila . The two riders could be seen on TV exchanging a few words as they passed the 2k to go sign . The Czech riding for Liquigas was actually asking the Irishman who rides for the Cervelo test team ‘ How much ? ‘
Now , he wasn’t asking how much Deignans legs were hurting or how much water was left in his bottle . He was asking how much Deignan wanted to let him win the stage . This type of ‘deal’ does happen in bike races but very rarely in a Classic or a Grand Tour . Deignan’s immediate response was ‘no thanks ‘ but the offer still had an effect on the result .
The fact that Kreuziger made the offer meant that he feared Deignan in the sprint finish . This would have boosted Deignans confidence and the refusal would have dented Kreuzigers . How much would have been on offer ? probably anything from 10 to 50,000 euros . A grand tour stage victory would probably be worth double that amount when signing a contract for the following season . Deignan was now mentally in the driving seat and as they entered the final kilometre he manoeuvred Kreuziger ahead of him to lead out the sprint and was perfectly positioned . The sprint began with 400 metres to go and at the 150m sign Deignan ‘kicked’ around his opponent and sprinted all the way to the line as if his life depended on it . There was no looking around or show boating as he did not ease up until he was safely across the finish line .
To top it all off , the stage result also moved him up into ninth overall which he retained to the finish in Madrid yesterday . This will be like a lotto win when it comes to contract negotiation time .
Deignan gave a great example of what happens when you don’t just grab the first offer that comes along . A little patience mixed with a little confidence ( and in his case a whole bunch of talent ) resulted in a much better ‘deal’ for the rider himself and for Irish cycling in general . We now have another ‘hero’ to cheer for , and with Dan Martin , Nicholas Roche and possibly Sam Bennett all chomping at the bit , the floodgates may now have been opened on a new Golden age for Irish cycling .
Well done Philip , you’ve done us all proud !