Deignan says team saw her an "an investment and a valued athlete"
Lizzie Deignan has said the Trek Factory Racing team’s attitude to her pregnancy was key factor in her leaving her current top ranked women’s team for the new outfit, which was officially unveiled on Monday.
Deignan will be the star rider at Trek, while currently she competes alongside other big names of the women’s sport including Chantal Blaak and Anna Van Der Breggen at Boels Dolmans.
“The reason I chose to move to Trek was because rather than see me as a risk they saw me as an investment – a valued athlete,” Deignan said. “For me that was the biggest signal towards equality.
“As an athlete your ambition is always to be with tea that gives you the environment that reflects what you are putting into it. From the beginning Trek did that.”
Deignan had planned to retire when she had children but said the pregnancy had given her a new lease of life. “It will be the biggest challenge of my career, but I’m excited about it. For me it brings a whole new motivation.”
Trek was keen to laud the support it would be giving the new women’s squad, which will be the only one owned by its main sponsor.
When asked to elaborate on how the support would be greater than the likes of Team Sunweb and Movistar, who share some resources with their respective men’s squads, Luca Guercilena, general manager of Trek-Segafredo, pointed to the financing.
“We will support that the riders will have is to be a full time professionals,” Guercilena said. “The girls are not supported economically right now. The UCI is bringing in a minimum salary in 2020, but we don’t want any athlete being part time or dealing with private sponsors.”
John Burke, CEO of Trek, declined to say how much the budget for the team would be but did say that “when you take a look at women’s teams we’re on the high side”.