Former world champion Lizzie Deignan has said that she was concerned for her future career before being approached by the newly formed Trek Factory Racing women’s team.
The 2015 UCI road race world champion is due to give birth next month. On her return to professional cycling, she will race for the Trek sponsored squad.
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Deignan made her intentions to return to cycling following the birth of her first child, with Team Sky’s Philip Deignan, very clear – confirming that the 2019 World Championships in her home country of Yorkshire was still a major target.
On announcing her pregnancy, Deignan said: “I have been inspired by countless women who have showed how successful and feasible this challenge could be.
“My dream of becoming world champion at home in Yorkshire is still my dream, I will just have more people to share the journey with.”
However, today on BBC Radio 5 live’s Business of Sport she commented: “My career was up in the air really but I was then approached by Trek.
“I was concerned about my future in the sport as it hasn’t really happened before at elite level road cycling.”
Deignan raced on the highly dominant Boels-Dolmans team from 2013 until announcing her pregnancy.
Speaking today, she explained: “There haven’t really been mothers who have stepped away from it and come back and been supported.”
“It’s unprecedented in that way,” she added – calling the new team a “step forward” for the sport.
The 29-year-old had not considered combining motherhood with cycling until more recently – explaining in the interview: “It wasn’t something I ever considered before, becoming a mum while being a cyclist or the potential of returning to professional sport as a mother.
“It’s not something everybody is thinking about but it is definitely a limiting factor for most women in their career.”
Speaking to Cycling Weekly in June, she explained the change in attitude, saying: “Before I’d got married and felt happy and secure enough to start a family – my own feeling was that when you get pregnant that should be your sole focus and priority. But having got to that stage in my life, I realise that it’s totally the wrong attitude to have.
“I think the mother’s well-being and independence and own focus is really important. I [previously] thought you could either do one or the other – but I’m capable of loving my child unconditionally and being a professional woman as well.”
Dame Sarah Storey recently claimed double world championship titles at the UCI Para-cycling events, just eight months after the birth of her second child Charlie and Laura Kenny won two golds at the European championships in Glasgow following the birth of her son Albie in August 2017.