Ahead of the opening stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour on Monday (10 June) in Suffolk, one of the race’s previous five champions, Lizzie Deignan (Trek Segafredo) spoke at a pre-race media event in Ipswich, looking ahead to the six-day race.
The race line-up features 16 teams totalling 96 riders on the start list for the sixth edition of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, which concludes in Carmarthenshire on Saturday 15 June.
2016 winner Deignan spoke about the parcours saying: “I think like always we’re going to have to be very prepared for the unpredictability of the stages. The only thing we can be sure of is that the first stage is flat and from there on in we have to be prepared for anything because I think those Welsh stages will be really difficult.
“I think our team is really focused on having the opportunity every night on TV to showcase Women’s cycling; we’ll be aggressive and make the racing interesting, and normally that leads to victory.”
Deignan appeared particularly focused on the second stage at Kent Cyclopark as she said: “I think it’s going to be really painful! It’s been about 15 years since I’ve done a criterium, I might be in trouble. It’s going to be fast, technical and aggressive. There will be lots of accelerations and I think it’ll be a hard stage.”
The Yorkshire woman returned to racing in April at the Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition (1.WWT) following the birth of her daughter in 2018. On her return to racing, she said: “This race was my first idea of when I would return to racing so I’ve come back earlier than expected, and thank goodness because this would be a pretty brutal beginning. I’m going to take a rest after this race, so this is the last block of racing for me before I have a rest.”
On winning the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in 2016, she said: “I think winning overall for me was a huge deal. I’d never won a stage race before – I barely finish stage races normally, so to finish it and win it was very special. I think I probably had some of the strongest legs of my career at the Women’s Tour that year, and to race in front of a British crowd is always incredibly special for me.”