Deignan opens season with third in Siena
2016 Strade Bianche winner Lizzie Deignan began her season on the podium in Siena on Saturday. The former road world champion snagged third place in an explosive final to the UCI Women’s WorldTour opener, which was won by Italian Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5).
Expecting to support a Boels-Dolmans teammate over the 127-kilometre race, Deignan was forced to embrace a leadership role when illness and injury required a change in plans.
"I couldn’t have expected a podium,” said Deignan. “I was coming here to work for the team, but we had so much bad luck that it ended up being me that needed to do the work. I’m not in top shape yet, nowhere near, so I’m delighted, really pleased. I didn’t expect to be in the breakaway and contribute to it. I thought if I made a breakaway, I’d be surviving it. I’m really pleased with my form."
Having finished in third place, Deignan’s Strade Bianche podium streak continues. The Briton has finished first (2016), second (2015) and third (2017).
“Today felt different than usual,” said Deignan. “Normally I feel very strong and dominant. Today it was much more down to tactics because I didn’t have the legs to animate it the way I’d normally like to. I had to play the tactic game, and I got it wrong.”
photo credit Cor Vos