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Lizzie Deignan: 'I'm very, very excited about Flanders'

Will Strickson
15 Jan 2021

The reigning WorldTour champion is focusing on the cobbles in 2021 and eyeing up a second stint in the rainbow jersey

Lizzie Deignan has made her intentions for the 2021 season very clear.

'During the first lockdown last spring I decided to focus on something tangible. I was thinking about the World Championships in Flanders as my motivating factor to keep working hard,' she said during one of Trek-Segafredo's pre-season virtual press conferences.

'At that time we didn't know if there was going to be a season in 2020, so I was thinking a lot about Flanders in training. I'm very, very excited about Flanders.'

After an unusual 2020 season, the schedule could hardly have worked out better for the reigning WorldTour champion with the inaugural Women's Paris-Roubaix set to take place in April and the World Championships heading to Flanders in September.

'Because of the fact that we have World Championships in Flanders I'm shifting my focus to the Cobbled Classics, so Flanders and Roubaix, rather than the Ardennes week.

'I'll try to be in form at the beginning of that period and yeah it's a lofty ambition. I've never ridden the cobbles of Roubaix so it seems a bit bold to say I want to win it when I haven't even seen these crazy cobbles. I would definitely love to be in my best shape there.'

If she does claim victory at the Hell of the North, Deignan would not only be the first to win the women's edition of the Monument, but the first British winner in general with Tom Pidcock's 2019 Paris-Roubaix Espoirs win in 2019 the closest we've come recently.

And while she may not have experienced the infamous secteurs she already has two Monuments and one World Championship road race title to her name, including victory at the Tour of Flanders in 2016.

It will also help her case riding alongside talented teammates including Ellen van Dijk and Elisa Longo Borghini, both of whom have also won the Tour of Flanders.

'It's great that we've reached the top being ranked number one team so quickly but actually the greatest and the hardest thing to do is maintain that level of performance,' Deignan said, concluding that after 2020, 'you just have to realise there is no perfect preparation anymore.'