Lizzie Deignan rues marking and too many motorbikes as heat blunts attacks in Tokyo Olympics women's road race

The Brit finished 11th after being caught 'between a rock and a hard place'

Lizzie Deignan
(Image credit: Getty)

Lizzie Deignan endured a frustrating Tokyo Olympics women's road race, finishing 11th after a hot day out where bizarre tactics reigned supreme.

The Brit says she was marked by her rivals, not allowed the freedom to try something, and that the riders who could attack were aided by too many motorbikes helping to draft them up the road.

"Unfortunately I was between a rock and a hard place. Anna [Shackley] did a great job while she could, she should be really proud of her effort, but mid-way through I was on my own but also marked. I didn’t have that freedom of a solo rider. Tactically I think I did the right thing, it just didn’t go my way," Deignan told the BBC after the race.

"It’s a weird race. Although there are small teams, there are weird agendas between teams. It’s also because the race was so hot and humid that all the moves were a bit blunted," Deignan added. "There wasn’t that same spark. Everyone knew that if they went into the red they’d never come back from it in this kind of weather. It was a defensive race but still really hard.

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"It was incredibly frustrating to be in my position. Every time someone made a move off the front, they were literally motor-pacing away from me. The motorbikes - there were too many. There were way too many motorbikes."

The specifics of the race aside, Deignan is just grateful to have been able to compete at the Olympics despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"I’m old enough to know that that’s the way sport goes sometimes. Obviously I’m really disappointed but I have the perspective that I’ve put myself in a position to be here, I had a great team behind me, and we’ve had a pandemic, and we’ve still had an Olympics. There’s so much to be thankful for, to even race here."

Jonny Long

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.


Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).


I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.