After returning to racing in April after the birth of her daughter, Lizzie Deignan has confirmed she will not be racing the British Road National Championships later this month.
Currently riding the Women’s Tour for her Trek-Segafredo squad, the 30-year-old former world champion is opting instead for a period of rest before her final build up for the World Championships in Yorkshire in September.
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“I am at a point in my season where I need a break,” she told Cycling Weekly at the Women’s Tour. “My season is structured differently to usual and I would normally have had a break in May, and despite not racing the spring I was training throughout, and in order to be fresh for the World Championships I had to back off.
“Unfortunately that coincides with the Nationals.”
Deignan has long held an ambition to win a second rainbow jersey, with this year a specific target as the World Championships take place in her home county of Yorkshire. As if she needed any more motivation, the route of the women’s race, run on September 28, runs right past her parents’s house and her old school.
Before her pregnancy the Nationals had always played a big part in her season. She won the last of her four British road titles in her last outing in 2017, and even won in 2015 just days after a serious crash at that year’s Women’s Tour.
“It feels strange,” she continued. “I always like to support the British Nationals, but I also feel like we’re a point where it’s not like the Nationals hinges on me being there. We’ve got so many strong women now that it’s going to be a hard race whether I’m there or not.”
This year’s event will be held in Norfolk on Sunday June 30 and the gently undulating course is not one that would naturally suit Deignan.
“I have sprinted pretty well this week, which is a nice surprise, but I don’t think it would [suit me], it would be a hard race for me to win,” she added.
After giving birth last September, Deignan, a four-time national champion, returned to competition at the Amstel Gold Race in April, despite saying she was planning not to race until this month.
Since then she has raced regularly, with seventh place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège the standout result before this week’s British race.
Since giving birth, Yorkshire born Deignan has learnt time management is the key to optimising training and motherhood.
“I don’t know that I need more rest, it’s just that the rest I have I have to maximise,” she explained.
“Funnily enough coming away to a race is intensive mentally, but I know when I go home Saturday I will be completely refreshed because I’ve had seven night’s sleep uninterrupted, all those little things. It’s about managing it.”
La Course on July 19 will be the next time we see Deignan race, with her subsequent programme still up in the air.
“I’m very lucky that I’ve got some flexibility with the team, so we’ll play it by ear,” she said.