Lizzie Deignan ready for 'pinch-me' moments at World Championships in Yorkshire
Last Updated: 27/09/19 12:39pm
Lizzie Deignan says she is prepared for some surreal moments when she chases a second rainbow jersey on home roads in Yorkshire at the UCI Road World Championships on Saturday.
Deignan, the 2015 world champion, has made this weekend's race her No 1 goal since returning in the spring after giving birth.
The 149km route from Bradford to Harrogate will take Deignan through her home town of Otley, past her parents' front door and along roads she walked as a child.
"It will be a 'pinch-me' moment for sure," Deignan said. "I ride from the school I went to, up the route I walked to school on every single day. It will be a special, surreal moment."
Having not known what to expect on her return from giving birth, Deignan has enjoyed a strong year on the road for Trek-Segafredo, highlighted by overall victory in the Women's Tour in June.
But she admitted she was surprised by how much the standards in the women's peloton were raised in her short time away.
"The women's peloton has moved on so although I'm back to my best, or the best I've ever been, it's a completely different peloton now, so I'm going to have to be better than I've been before on Saturday to win that title," she said.
"I only took a year off and I would say there has been a huge jump in the amount of women at the top tier of the sport.
"It's welcome, I think it's great that there's so many different winners now and more women able to be professional in every sense of the word. It did surprise me in such a short space of time."
Deignan will face stiff competition on the road from the likes of American Coryn Rivera, Italy's Marta Bastianelli, Australian Amanda Spratt and Kasia Niewiadoma of Poland.
But the biggest challenge comes from a Dutch squad that boasts defending champion Anna van der Breggen, former world champions Chantal Blaak and Marianne Vos, and reigning time trial world champion Annemiek van Vleuten.