Tokyo 2020 - Dominant Dutch quartet stand between Lizzie Deignan and Olympic gold glory
Lizzie Deignan knows she will have to find a way to beat a dominant Dutch quartet if she is to take Olympic Gold in Tokyo. Watch every unmissable moment live from Tokyo 2020 across Eurosport, Eurosport app and discovery+. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now. Stream every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+, The Streaming Home of the Olympics.
“They are phenomenal athletes individually,” Deignan told the Guardian.
You have four world-class athletes who are able to win the gold themselves. So potentially the only thing that can work against them is that they have four leaders in the team.
“It needs to be a hard race because I don’t think they would risk taking it to a sprint against riders like Emma Norsgaard," she added. "Marianne is not 100% sure to win a sprint, so they have to make it hard, so they have to sacrifice some of their riders. It depends on their team meeting who they decide to sacrifice.”
“I simply have to be willing to lose in order to win. I can’t follow every move that the Dutch make. I have to be really selective and the only way I can do that is rely on my race instinct. I think overthinking it will put me in trouble, and overreacting. It’s not down to me to react to the Dutch.”
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Britain will have just two riders in the race, with the experienced Deignan joined by Anna Shackley, 12 years her junior.
And the tactics for winning on a punchy course is the hot topic of conversation around the British camp. Deignan, however, says she is trying to block out the noise.
“I don’t listen to other people because right before an Olympic road race you’ll have a lot of advice from a lot of people. I tend to try and ignore people, it’s all about focusing on what my thought process is.
I have a good race instinct so I try and avoid planning too much or talking to too many people about it.
“The final circuit is very punchy and very difficult so I’d expect it to be a small group, if not a solo rider, at the finish.”
And if Deignan, who gave birth to a daughter two years ago, were to win gold? She is making no promises of retirement, regardless of the outcome in Japan.
“I’ve continued my career further than I thought I would do because of the opportunity that Trek have given me . We have the women’s Tour de France next year, and women’s cycling is growing and growing, so whenever I decide to walk away it will be a hard decision because there are so many more opportunities on the horizon.”
The women's road race begins at 5am on Sunday 25 July.
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Watch every unmissable moment live from Tokyo 2020 across Eurosport, the Eurosport app and discovery+. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.