The Cycleplan Blog

Lizzie Deignan Previews: Homecoming Tour de Yorkshire race

Lizzie and Team Boels-Dolmans’ awesome start to the season has continued with another morale-boosting one-two finish at Flèche Wallonne in Belgium. Lizzie was second behind Olympic Gold medallist and teammate Anna van der Breggen for the second time in three days after their one-two in the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday.

It was the perfect start to what is due to be a hectic week for Lizzie. Her eagerly awaited autobiography, Steadfast: My Story is out now. That’s followed by another race in Belgium at the Lèige-Bastogne-Liège (23rd), before rounding off April with her homecoming race at the Tour de Yorkshire (29th).

We caught up with Lizzie to discuss TdY’s rapid growth and the impact it has had on her home county since its inception in 2015 – following on from Yorkshire’s 2014 Tour de France Grand Dèpart. We also managed to find out Lizzie’s favourite training routes and what she misses most about Yorkshire.

Picture by Shaun Flannery/SWpix.com - 29/04/2016 - Cycling - 2016 Tour de Yorkshire, Stage 1: Beverley to Settle - Yorkshire, England - Cote de Greenhow Hill

What’s your favourite place to ride in Yorkshire?

I grew up in Otley – so I’d start there, then go up the Wharfe Valley and along the river. Keep going and then loop round the other side of the river and back. That’s one of the routes I always used to cycle as a kid.

Was it fun growing up cycling in Yorkshire?

Just a really great, safe place to ride. It was easy enough to add extra loops onto that route without getting lost when I was starting out. I used to go and ride there Wednesday afternoons after school. Up one side of the river and back the other side, going a little bit further each time. Very happy memories.

Which new destination are you looking forward to the most in the TdY?

I know the Mens 3rd Stage Route goes through Queensbury in Bradford, which is where my sister lives. She’s just started a new cycling club there – so everyone’s extremely excited to see them come past!

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In what ways do you think the tour has benefited Yorkshire? Has it encouraged a new wave of younger cyclists?

Well naturally I’m biased, but I would say that cycling in Yorkshire is massive now. Across the UK it’s getting more and more popular, but particularly in Yorkshire. Not only has it encouraged plenty of tourism for the region, but there’s also far more participation and popularity at a young grassroots level.

I hope that having professional racers from the area can inspire children who might not otherwise know about cycling, but if it’s also passing right by their front door, with thousands of people cheering and waving – it’s inspiring for younger cyclists and older cyclists alike.

Has it changed from when you were growing up?

Oh, massively. When I was growing up I didn’t have anyone to train with and I didn’t know any of the local cycling clubs. Whereas now, I can go home and train with countless people – passing cyclists on the road all the time. It’s a huge sport now.

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Finally, what do you miss most about being away from Yorkshire?

Fish & chips and my family. The first thing I always do when I get home is have fish and chips.

 

Want to read more of Lizzie’s thoughts on the season ahead? Stay tuned to for many more exclusive interviews with Lizzie throughout the season!

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