Deignan lined up at the start in Bradford hoping to reclaim the rainbow jersey she won four years ago, but it wasn’t to be. Despite being 31st across the line in Harrogate, five minutes and 20 seconds behind women’s elite race winner Annemiek van Vleuten, Deignan was proud of her ride and physical condition, just a year after giving borth to daughter Orla. Deignan admitted van Vleuten, who rode to victory after breaking clear 104 kilometres from the finish, was far too good for her rivals in a field made up of the planet’s best female riders.
Deignan had attempted to organise a chase, but her companions opted not to ride flat out, forcing the Yorkshirewoman to do most of the work and when Chloe Dygert finally decide to try and bridge the gap, she didn’t have the strength left to go with her.
“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.”
The majority of fans at roadside were rooting for Deignan, who was allowed to lead the peloton through her home town of Otley – and past her parents’ front door.
“I said beforehand I will remember this day for the rest of my career and I will,” Deignan insisted.
“I didn’t win, but it has been a phenomenal day.”
Van Vleuten’s ride will be remembered as one of the greatest ever seen at a world championships. She said: “It was only towards the end that I dared to believe. I was being cheered on by so many fans. The crowds in Bradford were huge and I had so much encouragement out on the course as well. British fans are amazing and I want to thank them all for helping make this win so amazing.”