Lizzie Deignan: There are no gifts in Strade Bianche

British rider heads to the Italian one-day Classic as she looks for an aggressive race ahead of bigger aims

Clock20:00, Friday 1st March 2024
Lizzie Deignan (Lidl-Trek) riding recon ahead of Saturday's Strade Bianche

© Getty Images

Lizzie Deignan (Lidl-Trek) riding recon ahead of Saturday's Strade Bianche

Lizzie Deignan (Lidl-Trek) might not be in peak condition at this point in the season but the British rider is still determined to play a pivotal role in Saturday’s Strade Bianche.

The former world champion made her season debut at the end of February and rode as a super domestique in both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Omloop van het Hageland but Strade Bianche represents her second WorldTour test of the season as she looks to build her form into the Spring Classics.

Read more: Spring Classics 2024: Essential guide to the races and riders

“The form is heading in a good direction after a tough Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Omloop van het Hageland. The form is in line with where I expected it to be," Deignan told GCN during a call as she headed to the Italian one-day race.

"I was really pleased to get two races under my belt because you can’t really replicate racing in training and I needed that race sharpness when going up against riders who had been at Tour Down Under or UAE Tour. I could feel that. I’m on track, though, for being sharp when I need to be."

Deignan won Strade Bianche race back in 2016 and has finished on the podium either side of that result. She knows the demanding nature of the parcours and the white gravel roads that often decide the outcome of the event.

“Strade is a really good race. I’ve got some good memories and there’s no hiding because the best riders win here. There are no gifts in Strade Bianche and those are the type of races that I like to do. It’s a cool race,” she said.

Spring peak and the new Strade Bianche route

With her peak form scheduled for later in the spring, the 35-year-old will focus on supporting her teammates as deep into the race as possible and Lidl-Trek’s strategy will almost certainly revolve around aggressive tactics and having numbers in the most critical phase of the action. With
Elisa Longo Borghini, Brodie Chapman, and Shirin van Anrooij on the roster, the American team have options.

Read more: 10 riders to watch at Strade Bianche

“I’m hoping to peak around the end of the Spring Classics and the Ardennes. The plan is that with every race is that I’ll get stronger and more race fit," Deignan said.

"For Strade, and on an individual level, I’m looking to help with a good overall team performance. I want to be an invaluable part of the team, from a tactical perspective. Our tactics as a team is all about having numbers in the final and I want to be one of those numbers.”

Race organisers RCS has added four sectors of gravel roads into this year’s women’s race. The likely outcome of the move is that the race will be more selective, and earlier on. Coupled with expected bad weather, the race could provide an epic battle between the likes of SD Worx Protime, Lidl-Trek and the rest of the women’s WorldTour.

“It’s funny with the course changes because, to me, Strade Bianche is already the hardest one-day race of the season. So it’s a bit daunting with the course modifications and the extra gravel sectors. The last 40km are going to be incredibly difficult," Deignan noted.

"We’re predicting bad weather but I think that aspect plays in our favour in terms of potentially having a strong team with depth – a bit like how we raced Omloop, and just have as many options as we can.”

Related Content

Link to Patrick Lefevere: Julian Alaphilippe had the final say on racing through injury
Julian Alaphilippe raced the Spring Classics with a fracture

Patrick Lefevere: Julian Alaphilippe had the final say on racing through injury

Soudal Quick-Step team boss has his say after Alaphilippe announced that he raced the Classics with a fracture

Clock
Link to Lidl-Trek keen to keep Lizzie Deignan: 'She is always welcome, we love her'
Lizzie Deignan has been a leader on Lidl-Trek since 2019

Lidl-Trek keen to keep Lizzie Deignan: 'She is always welcome, we love her'

Updates on the women's transfer market with news on Emma Norsgaard, Anna Henderson and several other rider contracts

Clock
Link to Mark Cavendish returns from illness to race Tour of Türkiye
Mark Cavendish returns to racing after a month away from action

Mark Cavendish returns from illness to race Tour of Türkiye

British rider back on track in his quest to win 35th Tour de France stage

Clock
Link to Tom Pidcock chasing first Monument win at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) after winning Amstel Gold Race

Tom Pidcock chasing first Monument win at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

'I can’t say I’m proud of my performance in Flèche' says Ineos Grenadiers leader

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox