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Lizzie Deignan: British cyclist to miss 2022 season after announcing pregnancy but plans return for 2023

Former world champion Lizzie Deignan has announced she is pregnant with her second child and will sit out this year; Last year's winner of the inaugural women's Paris-Roubaix is planning on returning with Trek-Segafredo in 2023 after signing a two-year contract extension

AJ Bell Women's Tour 2021 - Stage One - Bicester to Banbury
Lizzie Deignan of team Trek - Segafredo after stage one of the AJ Bell Women's Tour from Bicester to Banbury. Picture date: Monday October 4, 2021.
Image: Lizzie Deignan has announced she is pregnant with her second child

Lizzie Deignan has announced she is expecting a second child and will sit out the 2022 season, but the former world champion plans a return to racing next year and has signed a contract extension with Trek-Segafredo.

Deignan has claimed several significant victories since giving birth to her daughter Orla in 2018, including the inaugural women's Paris-Roubaix last year, Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2020, and the Women's Tour in 2019.

The 33-year-old is due to give birth in September and her announcement was combined with that of a new two-year contract to cover the 2023 and 2024 racing seasons.

"Obviously having a baby is a big decision, but it wasn't a difficult one for us," said Deignan, who is married to former professional rider Phil Deignan. "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 where we live was all really good. It was an emotional, but logical decision to make our family bigger.

"I feel like I still have plenty to give from an athletic standpoint. For me, it was always obvious that if we were able to have another baby then I would still return to cycling.

"I never expected to continue my career through not just one, but two pregnancies, but actually there's been so many examples now of successful women returning to the sport, and especially older women returning to the sport. I don't think the same stereotype of athletes retiring at 30 in their prime is necessarily true anymore."

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Deignan signed for Trek-Segafredo during her first pregnancy, and spoke of how she was grateful to the team for their continuing support.

Her pregnancy means she will miss the new look Tour de France Femmes this July as well as the Commonwealth Games.

"It's been quite an emotional experience, actually," Deignan said. "Talking with Trek and telling them about my pregnancy, they gave me their complete support.

"I first told Ina [Teutenberg], my sports director, and her immediate response was 'That's awesome, congratulations!'. That took me back, really. It meant so much to me personally to have that support."

"I don't think there's ever a perfect time to have a baby. 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. Next year it could be the first-ever women's Milan-Sanremo, and that would be an amazing thing to take part in. I'm able to see past what I'll miss."

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