Having finished second in the event’s inaugural edition in April, Lizzie Deignan has made the Amstel Gold Race her early-season target for 2018.
The 28-year-old Yorkshirewoman finished second behind her Boels-Dolmans team-mate Anna van der Breggen in all three Ardennes Classics in 2017, which also marked the first edition of a women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
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Deignan has previously showed her one-day credentials by winning prestigious spring events such as the Tour of Flanders, as well as placing second in the 2014 Flèche Wallonne.
She said: “Next season’s programme isn’t finalised yet but I’d like to win Amstel Gold. That race is a big target, so I want to be peaking at the end of spring.
“Finishing second in all three last season behind Anna shows that challenging in the Ardennes is a possibility, but setting out to win all three isn’t the aim. There are a lot of factors in each race that I cannot control; having good form in all three would simply stem from my goal to peak at that time of year.”
Also among Deignan’s plans for 2018 is a visit to see next year’s Worlds course in Innsbruck, Austria, which includes 2,413 metres of climbing. Her preparations for this year’s edition in Bergen, Norway, were scuppered by an operation to remove her appendix three and a half weeks before the race.
“I like the sound of Innsbruck from what I’ve read and been told,” she said. “It’s very hilly, which is good for me. I never used to think of myself as much of a climber but I’ve proved in recent years that I can go well in harder races.”
Deignan returned to competition at the opening round of this year’s Revolution Series at the Lee Valley Velodrome on November 25.
She began her winter training at the start of the month and is confident that there won’t be any lingering effects from her surgery come the turn of the year.
“I was on bed rest for about 10 days after the operation,” she said. “So I lost quite a lot of muscle and with it a little bit more strength than I normally would in an off-season.
“There’s time to rebuild that before the start of the road season, it just won’t be back for the Revolution!”