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Lizzie Deignan is set to race for the first time since 2017. The 2015 world road champion, who spent the 2018 season away from competition to have her first child with husband and former pro Phil Deignan, is returning at the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, April 21.
The race will also mark Deignan’s first in new kit. After six strong seasons with Boels Dolmans, the 30-year-old Brit joined the nascent Trek-Segafredo women’s team over the winter.
Deignan last raced at the world road championships in Bergen in 2017, announcing her pregnancy in March of 2018. Although she took time away from the races to welcome a baby girl, she said then she was aiming to return in 2019 with an eye toward the world championships on home roads in Yorkshire and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“My dream of becoming World Champion at home in Yorkshire is still my dream,” she said at the time. “I will just have more people to share the journey with.”
Deignan’s plan was to return to peak form by the middle of this season. Lining up at the Amstel Gold Race for her first race in over a year is a major step toward those goals. Deignan was second in the Dutch event in 2017, and has a long history of success in hilly one-days, with a career palmares that includes victories at the Tour of Flanders, Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Strade Bianche, and the GP Plouay to name just a few.
“I’m really excited about being back in the team environment and really appreciate the support everyone at Trek and Trek-Segafredo has given me so far; enabling me to come back in my own time,” Deignan said in Trek’s announcement of her Amstel return.
“I followed Lizzie’s preparations in the last months and I am confident that she will come back at a good level,” said team director Ina-Yoko Teutenberg. “The team is already very solid, and I am sure that adding Lizzie to the lineup will give the whole team an extra boost.”
Following the Amstel Gold Race, Deignan will continue on with the other two Ardennes Classics, La Flèche Wallonne Féminine and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. From there, she’ll head to home turf for the Tour de Yorkshire, which traverses some of the same roads that worlds will visit this fall.
“I’m really pleased with my progress on the bike since having Orla last September and feel ready to re-join the peloton,” she said. “I couldn’t miss the opportunity to race in Europe before the end of the Classics season and then look forward to heading back to race on home roads in the Tour de Yorkshire the following week.”
Following the Tour de Yorkshire, Deignan plans to head stateside to make her first career appearance at the Amgen Tour of California.