Pride, but no medal, for Lizzie Deignan after Dutch one-two at cycling's UCI Road Championships

Annemiek van Vleuten wins the women's elite road race in harrogate. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Annemiek van Vleuten wins the women's elite road race in harrogate. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
0
Have your say

Yorkshire's Lizzie Deignan put in a huge effort on her home roads, but finished outside the medals in Saturday's women's elite race at the UCI Road World Championships.

Gold went to Dutch legend Annemiek van Vleuten, after one of the greatest performances in the event's history.

Lizzie Deignan rides into Harrogate. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Lizzie Deignan rides into Harrogate. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

She broke clear on the Lofthouse climb 104 kilometres (64 miles) from the finish line in Harrogate and rode alone to win by two minutes, 15 seconds, from teammate and defending champion Anna van der Breggen.

Amanda Spratt, of South Africa, was third, three seconds behind the silver medalist.

Once van Vleuten broke clear, Deignan was in the second group on the road until the first of three laps of the Harrogate circuit, but an attack by Chloe Dygert - who eventually finished fourth - broke up the group.

Deignan faced a long, lone chase, but was reeled in by the peloton on the final lap and came in 31st, five minutes and 20 seconds behind the winner.

A huge crowd cheered the riders at Norwood. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

A huge crowd cheered the riders at Norwood. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

It was win or bust for the Otley ace who, with van der Breggen unwilling to pursue her teammate, did most of the chasing after van Vleuten had broken away and was left without the legs when the speed went up late in the race.

“I didn’t readjust and aim for the silver medal, I was always going for the rainbow," Deignan said.

“The group I was with, clearly, had readjusted and were thinking about going for the silver and bronze.

“When Chloe went, that move, I was just off it and I had been on the front too long - tactical error, but I was proud of the way I raced and the physical shape I got myself into to be here today.

“It’s not that I lost the race because of tactics, Annemiek was head and shoulders above everybody, so chapeau to her.”

Huge crowds lined the 149.4 km route from Bradford, many of them supporting Deignan who was allowed by the peloton to lead, along with Sheffield-based teammate Lizzy Banks, through her home town of Otley.

Deignan reflected: “I said beforehand I will remember this day for the rest of my career and I will.

"I didn’t win, but it has been a phenomenal day.”

Though the sun shone, a hilly course made for a gruelling competition and of the 152 riders, from 48 nations, who began the race, only 88 finished.

Banks was among those who didn't make it to the line, having to abandon after a series of mechanical problems and a bike change.

An emotional Banks said: "I had a tough day in the office, but you have to take the rough with the smooth in bike racing.

"It was a bad day to have misfortune, but sometimes it happens and you move on."