Ireland's Ciaran Power is hoping that a good performance at next week's Tour of Britain will furtherPICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Confidence and ambitions boosted by his excellent thirteenth place in the Olympic road race in mid-August, Irish professional Ciaran Power is targeting a place on a first division squad for next season. For three years the Waterford rider has been competing with the second division US-based Navigators Insurance team but, following his strong showing in Athens, the time appears right for him to try to chase a bigger deal. "Ciaran's performance in Athens definitely gave him a big lift," his agent Frank Quinn said. "He has never been so enthusiastic or motivated with regards to his career. The fact that he was in a break, which could have been the winning move, also did a lot for his confidence. Many of the big names suffered on the day with the heat and the technical course, and so he was very happy with his ride and his final placing. "It is all systems go in the search for a place with a first division team. He hasn't yet got an offer from Navigators Insurance for next year, and while it would be an option to try to negotiate a renewal, now is probably the right time for him to head back to Europe and sign with a division one outfit," said Quinn. Power had initially been aiming for a top 30 showing in the run-up to the Olympic road race but, having prepared specifically for the event with a lot of high intensity motor-pacing work, found himself with very good legs as the event approached. His ride - the best ever by an Irish cyclist in the Olympics - was all the more meritorious as he had expended vital energy as part of a six-man breakaway in the closing stages, going clear inside the final 70 kilometres in a group with Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen (Australia) and four others. They were recaptured with two laps to go, but the Irishman still had enough in the tank to sprint home for a top 15 place. "If somebody had told me beforehand that I was going to be thirteenth, I would have been delighted," Power said. "Going into the race I was hoping for a top thirty place but I hadn't limited myself to that. In the back of my mind I was hoping that a top twenty would be possible. Once I was out there, I felt really good all day. "I'd consider this my best ever result, I think. I have had a few decent results in the past but this is different. Olympics come around once every four years and probably once or twice in your career, and so to get into the top fifteen means I am over the moon." Quinn and former world number one Sean Kelly - for whom the former acted as an agent for many years - are both currently working hard at contacting team managers and chasing up a deal for next year. Quinn says that Power's fine Olympic performance shows what he is capable of, but that another good ride would make things easier. "The situation is quite tight at the moment in Europe, especially with the new Pro Tour system coming in next year," Quinn said. "For that reason, Ciaran will be aiming for a strong ride in the Tour of Britain at the start of September. A stage win there would be a big target for him, and would make it easier to get a new deal."