Reigning women’s national road race champion Lizzie Deignan believes that whoever takes her title at this weekend’s HSBC UK | National Road Championships will have to put in a “fantastic” performance, due to the current strength in depth in women’s racing.
Deignan, who claimed her fourth national title on the Isle of Man last year, announced that she was pregnant with her first child in March, and will therefore see her red, white and blue national champion’s jersey change hands in Northumberland on Sunday.
Of the field from which her successor will emerge, she said:
“It’s always an honour to wear the national champion’s stripes and although I haven’t been racing this year due to pregnancy, I made good use of them last year and will hopefully be back next year to try and win them back!
“The field for the women’s road race at this year’s championships is really strong though, and whoever takes the jersey will have to put in a fantastic performance to earn it.
“The strength-in-depth in our women’s domestic racing bodes really well for the future, and it’ll be interesting to see who takes my title this weekend.”
The 2016 champion Hannah Barnes will be among the favourites to regain her title on Sunday, while Dani Rowe will be targeting the national champion’s jersey following her impressive third place finish at the recent OVO Energy Women’s Tour.
Great Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey, and Olympic and Commonwealth track champion Elinor Barker will also be seeking a podium finish, as will Alice Barnes, who finished second behind her sister in 2016.
Also taking place on Sunday in Northumberland is the men’s road race, which will see defending champion Steve Cummings line up against the likes of Mark Cavendish, Ed Clancy, Ian Stannard and Owain Doull, while both time trial events will take place tomorrow.
All the action will be live-streamed on British Cycling’s website and Facebook page from 11am tomorrow and Sunday, while ITV will show highlights of the women’s road race and the live culmination of the men’s event from 3pm on Sunday.
Further information on the HSBC UK | National Road Championships is available here.