Lizzie Deignan will be one of six British women dreaming of victory at a home Road World Championships. But, the 2015 world champion will be the only one hoping to double her tally on home roads, having grown up in Otley, 11 miles from the road race finish line in Harrogate.
“The UCI Road World Championships race route passes places that have really had a huge influence on my life,” Deignan says, “the school I went to, the church where I got married, my parents’ garden with the finish-line in the town where my daughter Orla was born and where I’ll be living once I retire from competition.
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“I feel extremely lucky to be experiencing all of this regardless of how the race goes as it will give me very special moments I will always remember.”
Deignan returned to racing at the 2019 Amstel Gold Race, having climbed off after the 2017 Worlds in Bergen in order to have her daughter.
“It is still quite unusual for a women to come back at such a high level after a pregnancy. So I feel a sense of responsibility to prove to everyone that it is possible to reconcile the life of a sports person with motherhood.”
The 30-year-old says that keeping up with the training has been the trickiest obstacle as she tries to return to her previous form where she was a prolific winner: “I have kept myself moving over all these months, even though I don’t think you could call it real training as such. But each and every day, I tried to listen to what my body was telling me and trained on the basis of what I was feeling in the moment.”
Deignan will form part of a strong British squad, alongside Lizzy Banks, Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Nikki Juniper and Anna Henderson. They will be looking to upset a strong Dutch squad, which features three-time world champion Marianne Vos and 2018’s winner Anna van der Breggen.