Lizzie Deignan will miss the inaugural Tour de France Femmes and a home Commonwealth Games after announcing she is pregnant with her second child.
But Britain’s former road world champion has also extended her contract with Trek-Segafredo until 2024, revealing she was surprised by her team’s reaction - who apparently said “That’s f****** awesome, congratulations!” when she told sports director Ina Teutenberg her news.
Deignan, who is married to former Irish professional cyclist Philip Deignan, had her daughter Orla in September 2018 but returned to win the Women’s Tour a year later. The London 2012 Olympic silver medallist plans to return to racing next year.
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"Obviously having a baby is a big decision, but it wasn’t a difficult one for us. We’ve always wanted to have a big family and I think the time is right to have another child.
“Orla is ready for a sibling, I feel like I am established and able in my career to make the next step to have another child and everything behind the scenes fell into place. All the logical stuff like having a settled team and settled where we live was all really good. It was an emotional, but logical decision to make our family bigger.
“Talking with Trek and telling them about my pregnancy, they gave me their complete support,” she said.
I first told Ina, my Sports Director, and her immediate response was ‘That’s f****** awesome, congratulations!’ That took me back, really.
"It meant so much to me personally to have that support. I’m a professional athlete in a professional cycling team, but the support feels very personal and I’m incredibly grateful.”
Deignan, 33, says she is confident she can come back and challenge at the highest level and says there is no longer “the same stereotype of athletes retiring at 30 in their prime is necessarily true anymore.”
- 'I've changed a lot' - Deignan no longer considering retirement
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She admits it is a wrench to miss the first Tour de France Femmes - an eight day women’s event - as well as the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd for Birmingham 2022, having previously won Commonwealth Games gold at Glasgow 2014.
"I don’t think there’s ever a perfect time to have a baby," she said.
“Just like there’s never a perfect time to retire or to have an injury. There’s so many things in sport that might make you miss an event, and for me it’s the Tour de France Femmes and the Commonwealth Games this year.”
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