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Lizzie Deignan

Team Pursuit, Omnium and Road Race

Based
Belgium

From
Otley

Date of birth
18/12/1988

Team
Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team

Lizzie Deignan is considered one of the great success stories of British Cycling, developing through the ranks to become a dominant force in women’s road cycling.

The Yorkshire rider had the honour of being the first British athlete to win a medal - silver - at the home London Olympics in 2012 and became one of the country’s most famous sportspeople.

But her many and varied successes aside from that include a gold medal in the team pursuit at the 2009 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, two wins in the season-long UCI Women’s Road World Cup and Armitstead entered the new Olympic year of 2016 as reigning world, Commonwealth and national road champion.

Career in numbers

1

Total UCI Road World Championships medals

1

Total Olympic medals

Biography

A visit by British Cycling’s Apprentice programme to Deignan’s school in Otley, Yorkshire, in 2004 revealed her potential and, at the relatively advanced age of 15, one of the sport’s most successful careers was underway.

Initially, she showed particular talents in circuit racing and the track where she won gold in the 2007 UEC Under-23 European Track Championships scratch race.

Injuries disrupted her progress throughout the winter of 2007-08 but, by the end of 2008, Deignan was showing her incredible ability on the track, winning double gold at the UEC Under-23 European Track Championships and an astonishing seven gold medals in three UCI Track Cycling World Cup meetings in Manchester, Melbourne and Copenhagen.

That dominant form continued at the 2009 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Pruszkow, Poland, where she claimed the world title in the team pursuit with Joanna Rowsell Shand and Wendy Houvenhagel, collected silver in the scratch despite crashing late in the race and bronze in the points race with a badly-injured hand.

However, Deignan’s talent on the road was also beginning to shine through. In 2008, she had played a part in Nicole Cooke’s gold medal ride at the UCI Road World Championships and, the following year riding for the Lotto-Belisol team, won a stage of the Tour de l’Ardeche and best young rider classification at the Giro d’Italia Femminile.

More golds on the track

The winter of 2009-10 again brought yet more golds at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Manchester in the team pursuit and scratch and silvers in the team pursuit and omnium at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Copenhagen.

But by the summer of 2010, riding for the Cervelo Test Team, it was obvious that Deignan was developing into a major power on the world road racing stage, with a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games, three stage wins at the Tour de l’Ardeche and a creditable ninth at the UCI Road World Championships.

The road would remain Armitstead’s focus thereafter, with 2011 bringing her first national title and, as she geared towards the 2012 Olympics, more stage race success at the Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen and a seventh at the UCI Road World Championships.

Riding for the AA Drink-Leontien.nl team, Deignan built her year around the Olympics and recorded early season wins at one-day races the Omloop van het Hageland and Gent-Wevelgem. London 2012 would end in success for Deignan, on the opening weekend of competition, as she made it into a four-rider break in wet conditions and eventually won silver on the Mall, behind Marianne Vos, to claim the first British medal of the Games.

Armitstead moved onto the Boels Dolmans Cycling Team for the post-Olympic year, one which was plagued by a hernia problem, although she still managed to claim her second British road race title, from fellow London Olympic medallists Laura Trott and Dani King.

GREAT BRITAIN CYCLING TEAM KIT

Great Britain Cycling Team kit

Lizzie Armitstead
Lizzie Armitstead

A break-out year

Fully fit after her injury, the 2014 season was Deignan’s best to date and included a gold riding for England in the Commonwealth Games road race when she overhauled Emma Pooley. Earlier, a repeat win at the Omloop van het Hageland and victory at the opening UCI Women’s Road World Cup race, the Ronde van Drenthe, set her on the way to a dominant season in which she would finish in overall first place in the UCI Women’s Road World Cup.

The 2015 season was to focus on an attempt to win the road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, USA, in September and the year started well as she took her first stage general classification victory at the Tour of Qatar followed by three one-day World Cup victories.

A crash, with photographers after she had won stage one of the Aviva Women’s Tour in Britain forced her to pull out of her domestic race but 10 days later she won her third British Cycling National Road Race Championship while victory in August at the GP de Plouay saw her retain her World Cup title,

Better yet, in Richmond, Deignan became just the fourth British woman to win the road race world title, following Beryl Burton, Mandy Jones and Cooke, when she beat Anna van der Breggen in an exciting sprint.

The reigning world, Commonwealth and national champion opened 2016 with the Olympic Games once more the focal point of her season and early successes were plentiful with victories at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche, Trofeo Alfrendo Binda, the Tour of Flanders and Boels Rental Hills Classic.

In June, she was a popular winner of her home stage race, the Aviva Women’s Tour before a strong ride in the road race at the Rio Olympics saw her finish just outside the medals, in a creditable fifth.

Away from the bike

A keen all-round athlete at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley, Deignan only took up the sport when she attended a British Cycling Talent Team session at her school to avoid a maths lesson and try and beat a schoolfriend who challenged her.

A vegetarian since the age of 10, she had tasted success in athletics, at 800 and 1,500-metre track races, and even played as a goalkeeper for her school football team.

Nicknamed “Elizabeth the first” by British media after winning the first home medal of 2012, Deignan now divides her time between Otley, where she still rides with brother Nick, an amateur racer, and her European base in Monaco.

Lizzie Armitstead
Lizzie Armitstead
Lizzie Armitstead
Lizzie Armitstead
Lizzie Armitstead

Palmarès

2016
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 1st
Strade Bianche 1st
2015
UCI Road World Championships, Richmond (USA) road race Gold
2014
Commonwealth Games, Glasgow (UK) road race Gold
2012
London Olympic Games, London (UK) road race Silver
2010
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Copenhagen (Denmark) Team pursuit Silver
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Copenhagen (Denmark) Omnium Silver
Commonwealth Games, Delhi (India) Road race Silver
2009
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Pruszkow (Poland) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Pruszkow (Poland) Scratch race Silver
UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Pruszkow (Poland) Points race Bronze
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Copenhagen (Denmark) Scratch race Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Copenhagen (Denmark) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK) Points race Gold
2008
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK) Points race Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK) Scratch race Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK) Team pursuit Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Melbourne (Australia) Scratch race Gold
UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Melbourne (Australia) Team pursuit Gold
UEC European Track Championships, Alkmaar (Netherlands) Under-23 scratch race Gold
UEC European Track Championships, Alkmaar (Netherlands) Under-23 team pursuit Gold
UEC European Track Championships, Alkmaar (Netherlands) Under-23 points race Silver
2007
UEC U23 European Track Championship, Cottbus (Germany) Scratch race Gold
UEC U23 European Track Championship, Cottbus (Germany) Points race Silver
2005
UCI Track Cycling Junior World Championships, Vienna (Austria) Scratch race Silver