Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) said she was "empty" and "physically on the limit" during a gruelling second stage of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire.
The former world champion was active during the most difficult section of the stage from Bridlington to Scarborough, attempting to follow the solo move of Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) as the race entered the climbs of the North York Moors with around 75km to go.
Battered by intermittent rain and hail along with constant strong winds, Deignan said she spent all her energy trying to track the current world champion, and was unable to follow moves and was dropped not long after when a smalle group came back together and other riders began to attack.
Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) was eventually able to take the stage and overall win after bridging to lone leader Mavi Garcia (Movistar) with Soraya Paladin (Alé-Cipollini) before beating them both in a three-up sprint along the coast.
"I probably wasn’t in the best tactical moves today but I was just on the limit physically. I wasn’t making the most intelligent decisions but I had a good race," Deignan said, shivering at the finish.
"I was just so empty at that point [50km to go]. I can take away from it that I was there when I needed to be on the climbs but just was completely blocked in the crosswinds, I’d kind of burnt my matches I think trying to follow Anna in the beginning. It’s just one of those things.
"I’ve been struggling a bit with my appetite, and trying to get enough calories in has been a bit of a problem the last couple of days and I paid for that today."
The 30-year-old, who only returned to racing at Amstel Gold Race two weeks ago after giving birth to her daughter, is still attempting to find her form again ahead of a home World Championships in Yorkshire in September.
Despite eventually finishing in 28th place on Saturday at 3-54 down and 29th overall, Deignan says that she can take encouragement going forward from her strength on the climbs against some of the Worlds best riders. She's next scheduled to race in just under two-weeks' time at the three-stage Tour of California.
"My progression’s been really good and I'm really happy with the team and my personal progress," Deignan said.
"[My legs] were good and then bad and then good. I went through all kinds of emotions. But I think the main point for me was that at the pinch points there on the climbs when it really mattered I was able to follow the best in the world, so I know I’ve still got a lot of improvement to make but I’m happy with my progress.”
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