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Lizzie Deignan to 'be prepared for anything' at most brutal Women's Tour yet

Joe Robinson
10 Jun 2019

Deignan's return to racing continues as she plans to race aggressively at Women's Tour

Lizzie Deignan believes her Trek-Segafredo team will have to 'be prepared for anything' as they target the 'most brutal Women's Tour' yet. The 30-year-old rejoined the women's peloton in the spring having taken time out of the sport for the birth of her first child last autumn.

With the long-term goal of competing for a second World Championship road title in Yorkshire this September, Deignan had initially planned to return to racing at the Women's Tour.

Instead, she made the decision to return earlier at the Ardennes Classics, a decision that she is glad to have made considering the toughness of this year's Women's Tour.

'[The Women's Tour] was my first idea of when I would return to racing so I’ve come back earlier than expected, and thank goodness because this would be a pretty brutal beginning,' she explained before the start of the Women's Tour. 'I’m going to take a rest after this race, so this is the last block of racing for me before I have a rest.'

Adding a sixth stage and including a summit finish on Stage 4 to Burton Dassett Country Park has meant an extra 4,000m of climbing compared to last year's race. This has led to race organiser Mick Bennett to calling it the 'most brutal race yet'.

It will be in stark contrast to last year's race in which all five stages finished with a bunch sprint and hopefully lend itself to attacking racing, something that Deignan and her team plan to do.

'I think like always we’re going to have to be very prepared for the unpredictability of the stages. The only thing we can be sure of is that the first stage is flat and from there on in we have to be prepared for anything because I think those Welsh stages will be really difficult,' Deignan added.

'I think our team is really focused on having the opportunity every night on TV to showcase women’s cycling; we’ll be aggressive and make the racing interesting, and normally that leads to victory.'

The final two stages in Wales, alongside Stage 4's summit finish, are expected to make the selection for the overall victory, however, Deignan was keen to underline Tuesday's 62.5km criterium around the Kent Cyclopark in Gravesend as a stage to be worried about.

'I think it’s going to be really painful,' Deignan said about the Gravesend stage. 'It’s been about 15 years since I’ve done a criterium, I might be in trouble. It’s going to be fast, technical and aggressive. There will be lots of accelerations and I think it’ll be a hard stage.'

The Women's Tour started today with a 157.6km stage from Beccles to Stowmarket with Jolien d'Hoore taking the bunch sprint.