Lizzie Deignan has put her 2020 retirement plans on hold and hinted that her career may continue beyond the end of the decade with a new outfit.
The Boels-Dolmans rider had previously suggested retiring after the 2019 UCI Road World Championships, to be held in her native Yorkshire.
“I’m not restricting myself, or saying Yorkshire will be the end, or even Tokyo [2020 Olympic Games],” Deignan told Cycling Weekly.
“I am still only 29 and I think I need a different focus and a different approach. I can’t keep doing the same things because I am not motivated in the same way.
“The calendar is not changing, my team is not changing at the moment, so it has to come from a bit of introspection and having a look at what drives me, where I need to be and who I need to work with.”
Deignan joined Boels-Dolmans at its inception in 2013 and has experienced the majority of her success with the team. Her rise to the pinnacle of the sport has coincided with the team’s ascent to the top.
“I’ve had great opportunities here and there is no better women’s team in the world, no grass is greener, she said. “Sometimes you have to change things.”
The change in approach comes after her bid to reclaim the rainbow jersey was scuppered by appendicitis just three weeks before last September’s World Championships.
“I don’t have any plans and I’m feeling really comfortable being like that. Normally I am so focused and goal-orientated, and because of what happened last year I am not going to put that kind of pressure on myself.”
While most top teams are well stocked with talent many would welcome Deignan’s experience and stellar palmarès. Former UCI president Brian Cookson is currently trying to build a women’s team, though
Cycling Weekly understands a big sponsor is yet to be found.
Deignan will again target the rainbow jersey in Austria this September, though she will not defend her Commonwealth Games title on Australia’s Gold Coast this spring.
“It is the same time as the Ardennes Classics and my responsibilities lie with my trade team,” she said. “I have been twice and come away with a silver and gold. I don’t need a bronze.”
Instead Deignan aims to be competitive for the Tour of Flanders onwards, with the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de Yorkshire targets before the defence of her national title in June.