British cyclist Lizzie Deignan has ruled out retirement this year and said she hopes to achieve victories at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and World Championships in Flanders.

Her compatriot Nicole Cooke did the double in 2008, a feat repeated four years later by Marianne Vos.

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Speaking about the possibility of taking the top prize at both, she said: "I’d never sort of considered the combination going together and being unique, but you're right. Tokyo and Flanders are a goal."

Deignan took time out in 2018 after she became pregnant with her first child, Orla, and returned to the sport in 2019. However, her 2020 season has seen more success with victories at the GP de Plouay and the Tour de France’s La Course.

Having previously considered retiring at the end of the 2020 season, Deignan now seems in no hurry to do so.

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She said: "It's funny, I should probably stop talking about retirement because no one will believe me when I actually do.

"I always had in mind that Tokyo [2020] would be that retirement race but life changes and moves on. I have a family now and the break from cycling completely renewed my love for the sport. I don't see Tokyo [postponed to 2021] as the finish line any more, I'm very open-minded about that."

However, the 2020 season is far from over and Deignan will next compete in the Fleche Wallonne, on Wednesday, then the Ardennes Classics. The Tour of Flanders – a race she has previously won – takes place on October 18, followed by the inaugural women’s Paris-Roubaix on October 25.

Speaking of the growth in women’s cycling, she said: “I'm in a fantastic position where I'm able to support my family from being a bike rider and that wasn't where I saw myself being 10 years ago, it was just impossible to think about. I completely understand and appreciate how lucky I am to have the profession I have.”

Despite a disappointing result at the World Championships in Imola last week, where she finished sixth, she said: "I think I'm physically in a different place. I think I rode like somebody under pressure last year.

"Tactically I wasn't very smart. I spent far too much time on the front trying to chase down Annemiek van Vleuten, I should have spent more time in the wheels. This year, I don't feel like the race rests on my shoulder."

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