'I’m not at the top of my game yet' - Lizzie Deignan continues build at RideLondon

Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) in the Best British Rider jersey at Ride London Classique 2023 on stage 3
Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) in the Best British Rider jersey at Ride London Classique 2023 on stage 3 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Lizzie Deignan (Trek Segafredo) returned to racing on British roads at the RideLondon Classique with a third place finish in the general classification, despite being unable to contest the sprint on stage 3.

The former World Champion, alongside her Trek Segafredo teammates, tried to attack GC leader Charlotte Kool in an attempt to take back the 5-second lead Kool held over Deignan going into the final stage in central London.

They were unable to break away from the peloton however, and Deignan, a much lighter rider not known for bunch sprinting despite having an incredible turn of speed, was bumped from both sides in the final few kilometres and was happy to just finish the stage.

“The tactic was to try and do something after the second [intermediate] sprint, but the course was not quite dynamic enough,” said Deignan. “It was difficult to distance people. We tried and gave it a go, but it didn’t work then it was about trying to set me up as best we could for the sprint.

“If you saw what happened to me there, I was bumped around quite a bit and I was just, in the end, happy to stay upright, to be honest. It was really hectic and for me to try and pull a win off in a bunch sprint is hard at the best of times.”

She was, however, quick to laugh about how a 'lack of power' was the key factor in her not contesting the sprint against Kool and Chloé Dygert (Canyon-SRAM), who leapfrogged Deignan on GC thanks to her bonus seconds gained on the stage.

Deignan had been trying to move up before the peloton turned back onto the Mall for the final time, but almost crashed due to contact on both sides, forcing her to retreat from any attempt at sprinting for the win.

It was the first time the pioneering Brit had raced on the Mall since her silver medal success at the London 2012 Olympics games where Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) took the win.

Trek-Segafredo worked hard for Deignan after Elisa Balsamo (Trek Segafredo) was forced to abandon after a crash on stage 1 and the British rider performed well, finishing third on stage 1 and second on stage 2.

It’s another step forward in the fitness of Deignan since returning from her second maternity leave at the Ardennes Classics in April.

“I’m really happy with my progress. On paper, this race doesn’t suit me, but I was able to have an impact and we made the best of a bad situation after losing our sprinter,” said Deignan.

“I think the team really deserves the credit for that because it was a team effort.

“I’m not at the top of my game yet and I’m not exactly where I need to be yet, so I’m just happy with the progress.”

Deignan’s upcoming calendar is packed with further opportunities to build that form on the run into the Tour de France Femmes in July, with the rider set to line up at both the Tour de Suisse in June and the Giro d'Italia Donne from June 30 to July 9.

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