Lizzie Deignan will set her sights higher in 2020 as she says the time to think of herself as a mum on a bike is over.
Deignan gave birth to baby daughter Orla last September before returning to competition in April.
Though she could not deliver a dream victory at the UCI Road World Championships on home turf in Yorkshire in September, her season was a success given her victory at the Women’s Tour in June so soon after coming back.
But while everything Deignan did in 2019 was seen in the context of her return to racing, the 30-year-old is looking forward to getting back to normality next season.
“I want to go into next season and push myself to believe in bigger results,” Deignan told the PA media agency during the Rouleur Classic.
“I don’t want to go in there thinking at the back of my head, ‘I’m a mum’. I want to go in there as a professional rider who’s a mum aside from that.
“Last year it made sense, the reasons for my results were that I’d just become a mum, whereas next year it won’t factor in as much.
“I’m quite excited to just race as me and not have anything to fall back on in that way.”
Last winter was a time of huge change for Deignan and her family.
While Orla’s arrival was the most significant factor, her husband Philip called time on his own cycling career at the age of 35 after five years with Team Sky, while Lizzie left the powerful Boels-Dolmans team to join Trek-Segafredo as they entered the women’s peloton.
A year on, Deignan is looking forward to things being much more settled and being able to train through the winter.
“The huge difference is having Orla be over one year old now,” she said. “She’s sleeping, I’m not feeding her anymore. We’re learning how to be parents all the time but we’re in the swing of it now, there are no surprises.
“Phil is one year retired now so he knows what he’s doing, and I’m not joining a new team again so I know my equipment, I know the staff.
“It’s a settled winter. There’s so much to be said for consistency and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
With that platform to build on, Deignan will set her sights on the Olympic Road Race in Tokyo next summer, having been out to recce the course in the shadow of Mount Fuji this summer.
“I really like it,” Deignan said of the route. “It’s reminiscent of a really hard Classic, something like a Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The climbs are longer than in the Amstel Gold, they’re more like Liege in length so it suits me.
“I think I will target something like Liege to build confidence.”
Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the last of the Spring Classics, was Deignan’s third race back in 2019, and her seventh-place finish suggested she had regained form faster than expected.
She went on to finish 14th in the Tour of California before winning the Women’s Tour in June, but then focused on training camps rather than racing in the build-up to the World Championships.
That approach will be different in 2020, with the only Grand Tour on the women’s calendar – the Giro Rosa in Italy – on the agenda in June.
“I’ll race more this year,” she said. “I need the race days. I’ll do the Giro, and that’ll be the big difference with a 10-day stage race. I’ll do the Women’s Tour and then the Giro so that will be a big block of racing.”