This season is all about the World Championships for Lizzie Deignan and the recent Giro Rosa is a step towards that goal for the Boels-Dolmans rider. Finishing 45th on general classification, Deignan went to Italy to work for her team’s leaders, but also to get some consistent time on the bike.
Her week was a success in more ways than one. Team-mate Anna van der Breggen won the general classification, Megan Guarnier took the final stage and the Dutch outfit won the team time trial which opened the 10 day event.
“A massive work load is what I came here for,” an upbeat Deignan told Cycling Weekly in the Italian sunshine. “I have finished healthy and it is only the second time I’ve managed to finish the Giro in my career, so I’m happy with that.”
Despite a strong spring, where she finished second to van der Breggen in each of the Ardennes Classics, this year Deignan has not experienced the success she had before winning the rainbow jersey in 2015.
“My legs just haven’t turned up this season, but I have got my confidence back after this race. I always know that the simple thing I need for me to be competitive is consistency, and I have just not been able to get it through illness and other stuff going on, so it’s nice to come here and get ten days work to perk me up again.
“I am grateful that I am in a strong team where I can come and work hard and we still get results.”
The team started the Giro Rosa with Anna van der Breggen and Megan Guarnier – winners of the two preceding editions – leading the team, with a decision being made on the road.
If that was not decided by stage two into Montereale Valcellina – where unexpectedly high time gaps shaped the final podium – it was confirmed by the fifth day time trial.
“It’s been really nice, though bloody painful,” continued Deignan. “It was a really hard Giro for the workers. Obviously Anna was incredible and worked really hard for it too, but we lacked any real gruppetto days, so it was a real slog to hold onto that jersey from the first to the last day.
“But it’s all about the Worlds for me. There are also a couple of races along the way, so Plouay would be a target for me too.”
Deignan’s 2015 win at the GP Plouay foretold her Word Championship success, but to win in Norway this September she will need to beat van der Breggen, whose form so far makes her the undisputed rider of the year.