Lizzie Deignan to make Tour de France Femmes debut this July

'It's the biggest stage in the world,' says Brit

Lizzie Deignan at RideLondon Classique 2023
(Image credit: Getty)

Former road world champion Lizzie Deignan has revealed that she plans to make her debut at this summer's Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift

The Brit, who recently finished third at the three-day Ford RideLondon Classique, returned to racing last month, following the birth of her second child in September 2022. 

Speaking to Cycling Weekly and other outlets at the race in London, Deignan detailed her current schedule, which includes the Tour de Suisse in mid-June, before a duo of Grand Tours in July's Giro d'Italia Donne and Tour de France Femmes. 

"I'm really happy with my progress," she said. “I’ve done more races than I expected to, with those Ardennes at the beginning, but [I’m] still open-minded. I’m not at the top of my game yet. I’m not exactly where I need to be yet, so I’m just happy with the progress.” 

After a year and a half away from the peloton, Deignan returned in a support role at La Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April, before taking on the seven-day La Vuelta Femenina. 

Asked about her upcoming race calendar, the 34-year-old said: “Now I’ll take a little bit of a break, just a couple of days to kind of back off a bit, and then I do the Tour de Suisse, the Giro and then the Tour de France.”

Deignan’s pregnancy meant she missed last year’s inaugural edition of the Tour de France Femmes, won resoundingly by Movistar’s Annemiek van Vleuten

This year's event will feature the race’s first-ever haute catégorie climb in the Col du Tourmalet, as well as a final day individual time trial. 

“The fact that we now have a Tour de France shows the state of women’s cycling, the appetite for women’s cycling, the opportunities that are there,” Deignan said in a recent interview with the race organisers, ASO.

“It’s the biggest stage in the world for us as female athletes. If I retired and somebody asked me, ‘Have you ridden the Tour de France?’ and I had to say no, then that would be a disappointment because it’s a global event. 

“You know, everybody has heard of the Tour de France, and to be able to say that I’ve had a part of it is something that I obviously want.” 

Though the Brit is yet to make her Tour debut, she has previously ridden La Course - a now defunct one-day race organised by ASO - and won the 2020 edition.

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Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.