Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) will make her return to racing on home soil at the RideLondon Classique this week. The former World Champion spoke excitedly at a press conference about competing on British roads for the first time since the Women’s Tour in 2021, the last race she did before going on maternity leave.
The RideLondon Classique is a three-day World Tour stage race around Essex and London. It was started in 2013 as a one-day legacy event for the London 2012 Olympic Games, where Deignan won Team GB’s first medal of the games, a silver, behind Marianne Vos in the road race.
Deignan made her eagerly anticipated return early at the Ardennes Classics before going to La Vuelta Femenina, again in a domestique role but believes that she can be back at the sharp end of a race on home roads.
“The Vuelta was all about trying to protect my GC riders so I had a very specific job there, but I think RideLondon is probably the first race where I feel like I’ll be able to be in the mix and able to be tactical rather than just surviving,” said Deignan in a press conference.
“On my form, I’ve learned again for the second time that you can be flying in training and as fit as you want, but there’s just no replacement for racing.
“You can’t suffer as much as you need to, or accelerate as many times as you need to.
“I think the finesse and the race rhythm have come back really quickly so I’m excited to do RideLondon. Even in the last week, I feel like I’ve taken another step forward in my performance.”
The highly decorated Brit was quick to stress how the racing has changed after being out of the peloton again.
“I think on both the men’s and women’s sides, it’s getting harder and harder,” she said.
“Everybody is pushing their limits and the performance levels are getting stronger, particularly in women’s cycling. The investment and changes we’ve seen mean in the peloton, the level of performance is deeper.
“It’s simply harder than it’s ever been before, which is great!”
Deignan made an earlier return to racing than expected at the Ardennes Classics, before completing La Vuelta Femenina. She worked in aid of 21-year-old Gaia Realini on both occasions and relished reuniting with her Trek Segafredo teammates.
“It’s like I’ve never been away [from the team]. I’ve raced with a lot of the girls already, but I had quite a few new teammates and that’s always a bit of a risk, but the management has made really good signings, the team dynamic is solid and everyone is really positive…
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