(Image credit: Getty Images)
After contemplating retirement at the end of the 2020 season, Lizzie Deignan said that she will continue racing toward the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games set to take place in 2021.
“I have the motivation and optimism to carry me through to an Olympics in 2021,” she told PA news agency. “What a special Games that will be.”
The International Olympic Committee [IOC] announced its decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games in the face of health concerns and risks surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Deignan announced in March of 2017 that she was expecting her first baby. Shortly after that announcement a newly launched Trek-Segafredo welcomed her to the team while she was still six months pregnant and effectively paid her salary while she was on leave. They agreed to a two-year term so that she could focus on the 2019 UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Her 2019 season began at the Ardennes Classics and she went on to win the overall title at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour. She ended the season with a 31st finish at the World Championships in Harrogate.
She set her sights on the Ardennes Classics this spring, to prepare for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but due to public health concerns surrounding the coronavirus, all of the Women’s WorldTour races from March through June have been either cancelled or postponed.
Although she indicated retirement at the end of that two-year term in 2020, she has decided to continue racing with a hope of competing in the 2021 spring classics and in the delayed Olympic Games.
“I love the spring classics, that’s why I’m a bike rider, so I don’t think retirement is on the cards, even more so after this,” she told PA news agency.
“Since I had my daughter, I’ve only raced 21 days but I’ve done an awful lot of training,” Deignan said. “To think that would be the end now this season, I wouldn’t be happy to stop and not be able to race another spring.”