Inaugural Paris-Roubaix champion Lizzie Deignan is expecting her second child with husband and former Team Sky pro Phil, and will miss the 2022 season. Deignan, who is already a mother to daughter Orla, has extended her contract with Trek-Segafredo through 2023 and 2024.
In an extensive interview released by her team, Deignan outlined her plans to return to the sport next year...
"Obviously having a baby is a big decision, but it wasn’t a difficult one for us. We’ve always wanted to have a big family and I think the time is right to have another child," Deignan said.
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"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.
"Having been through the journey of having a baby and returning to the sport, I’ve realised that it is possible, and physically it’s actually easier than I expected. It’s obviously demanding and challenging on your body but it’s certainly not limiting, so that was a huge surprise after having Orla, and something that helps my decision in coming back after another baby.
"It’s the stuff around it; the family life balance that sometimes is difficult to manage, but I also think that we’re at the point now, three years after having Orla, that we know what we’re doing and we feel like we can manage more, and we actually enjoy that.
"It's been quite an emotional experience, actually. Talking with Trek and telling them about my pregnancy, they gave me their complete support.
"I first told Ina, my sports director, and her immediate response was ‘That’s f***ing awesome, congratulations!’ That took me back, really. It meant so much to me personally to have that support. I’m a professional athlete in a professional cycling team, but the support feels very personal and I’m incredibly grateful."