Lizzie Deignan received three of the 11 WorldTour races in 2020 to high the person rankings.
Lizzie Deignan says she appears like she is competing in a “new sport” because the ever-rising requirements within the ladies’s peloton hold her motivated.
In 2019 Deignan, who turned 32 in December, brazenly contemplated retiring this winter, however finally dominated it out earlier than starring in final 12 months’s disrupted marketing campaign.
Deignan received three of the 11 WorldTour races in 2020 to high the person rankings, and goes into 2021 with formidable targets across the Tokyo Olympics and the World Championships in Flanders however beginning with Paris-Roubaix in April.
The primary-ever ladies’s version of the ‘Hell of the North’ provides a recent goal for a rider with so many accomplishments already to her title, however it’s not the one factor conserving the previous world champion going.
“(Paris-Roubaix is) actually thrilling, however there’s additionally simply the truth that ladies’s biking has grown a lot,” Deignan instructed the PA information company.
“I do really feel like I am a part of a brand new sport. It is tougher to win races and that’s nonetheless motivating. Profitable as many races as I did in 2016 is means tougher now. It is not simple and that retains me motivated.”
The push for larger equality in biking has not been simple, with a number of backward steps interrupting the journey forwards, however the stage of competitors has modified markedly in a number of brief years.
“Issues that received me races again then, with the ability to assault on the backside of a steep climb and draw back will not work now,” Deignan mentioned. “Now the pace into the underside of the climbs, due to the depth of the peloton, would not enable my leap to get me as huge of a spot because it used to.”
Deignan’s Trek-Segafredo staff was solely fashioned in 2019 however has rapidly turn out to be the dominant drive in ladies’s biking, with a star-studded roster boasting the likes of Elisa Longo Borghini and Ellen Van Dijk alongside Deignan.
Former world champion Annemiek Van Vleuten mentioned she turned down the staff this winter for concern of them changing into too dominant – eradicating the unpredictability which has been the game’s finest promoting level.
“I believe they’re truthful,” Deignan mentioned of Van Vleuten’s feedback. “It is vital that the form of ladies who’re profitable races are unfold out amongst completely different groups, although I do not assume dominant groups ever final endlessly.
“You see it in males’s biking. Ineos had a number of years after which different groups get to that stage. I believe in ladies’s biking, with the announcement of issues like Cofidis having a staff, which means there will likely be extra competitors and room to barter for riders.
“It will not simply be about selecting a staff with a good wage, it will likely be about selecting a staff with respectable alternatives.”
Deignan put her success final 12 months right down to staying versatile amid the uncertainty of the pandemic, an method she will solely attempt to repeat in 2021.
If the season progresses as deliberate, Deignan will head to the Ardennes Classics after Paris-Roubaix on April 11, then flip her consideration in the direction of Tokyo.
“I am going to do some warmth acclimatisation work that will likely be primarily based at house – virtually like having a greenhouse over my bike or doing turbo classes within the toilet,” she mentioned. “Will probably be pretty fundamental however fairly efficient. I believe for me the largest problem in Tokyo would be the warmth and humidity.”
With objectives mapped out all through the season and a contract in place till the top of 2022, all discuss of retirement is on the again burner.
Requested if she acquired so far as contemplating what’s going to come subsequent, the Otley-born rider laughed.
“It is most likely as a result of I do not know what’s subsequent that I am going to keep on!” she mentioned.
“I do not know however it’s positively one thing I take into consideration. Retiring from skilled sport is a really tough factor to do and I wish to be ready.”