Tokyo Olympics: Otley’s Lizzie Deignan frustrated after finishing outside top 10 in women’s road race

LIZZIE Deignan took a dim view of Dutch intransigence as the women’s Olympic road race produced one of the biggest shocks in cycling’s recent history.

Sunday, 25th July 2021, 7:24 pm
Updated Sunday, 25th July 2021, 7:39 pm
Lizzie Deignan comes home in 11th place in the Women's Road Race at the Fuji International Speedway. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

The Otley star was part of a peloton that waited for Annemiek van Vleuten, Anna van der Breggen and Marianne Vos to reel in a breakaway with 40km to go.

But the anticipated response never came and Austria’s Anna Kiesenhofer took victory – a Cambridge mathematics graduate not signed to a trade team.

“I don’t know anything about her, she’s definitely a surprise winner,” the 32-year-old said of Kiesenhofer.

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Austria's Anna Kiesenhofer celebrates winning the Women's Road Race at the Fuji International Speedway. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

“There was a huge lack of information. Probably the Dutch dominance before the race worked against me in the end.

“Nobody committed. In my position as a sole rider, there was nothing I could do and I was surprised by the lack of collaboration.

“The Dutch had too many leaders, potentially. It’s almost understandable.

“What do you do in your team meeting when you’ve got four riders who can win the bike race? How do you decide?

Medalists Austria's Anna Kiesenhofer (gold), Netherland's Annemiek van Vleuten (silver) and Italy's Elisa Longo Borghini (bronze) during the medal ceremony after the Women's Road Race. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

“They’re all incredible riders, all very professional, but they needed to choose one leader probably.”

Deignan was shielded from the wind by young Scot Anna Shackley in the early stages, with Team GB only entering two riders having fielded three in Rio and four in London.

Deignan, who famously won silver at her home Games, was prominent at the front of the peloton and quickly stubbed out attacks from the likes of Ashley Moolman-Pasio.

She also drove the pace on the Doshi Road descent towards the start of a frustrating day for the bunch.

Deignan was part of the first major group to finish but couldn’t produce a sprint finish and came home 11th.

“I’m happy. I feel like I was stuck in the middle of tactics and physically didn’t have the punch to make a different on the climbs,” she said.

“I would have liked top 10, it’s a shame I didn’t get top 10.”

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