Lizzie Deignan took her fourth elite British road title in seven years in Douglas on the Isle of Man on Sunday. The 28-year-old attacked four kilometres before the finish to dispatch Katie Archibald (WNT) and defending champion Hannah Barnes (CANYON//SRAM) en route to victory.
“I didn’t want to take it to a sprint,” said Deignan. “When there were only three of us left, I knew I had to get rid of Hannah and Katie.”
Before there were three, there were nine. Deignan was part of a strong chase group that formed in response to an escape that included individual pursuit world champion Elinor Barker (Matrix), Anna Christian (Drops) and Manon Lloyd.
“I knew if I could reduce the size of the group, we’d work collectively and commit to the chase,” said Deignan. “When the group was larger, people would do a turn and stop. It was frustrating, but that’s the way it goes at national championships. There’s no real team tactics, so of course, there will be people sitting on. It’s the same thing I would have done a couple years ago, too.”
Deignan assumed control in the chase, doing the lion’s share of the work and launching repeated attacks. Her digs thinned the chase and tired her competition. Ahead, Lloyd and Christian lost contact with Barker who forged ahead alone.
“Elinor did a fantastic ride,” said Deignan. “She has been concentrated on her time trial, so I knew she’d be super strong. She was unlucky in the time trial and punctured. She also had that revenge passion in her. It was always going to be a difficult job to get her, but it’s also tough to be out there for so long. I bided my time, and with two laps, I attacked on that kicker to the finish.”
Only Barnes and Archibald could respond to Deignan’s missive. The trio collaborated in the chase.
“I knew once I had those two girls with me and we all had a chance to medal, that we’d all share the work,” said Deignan.
The chase had the gap to Barker down to 100 metres just beyond the five kilometre mark. Barker managed to hang on to her slim lead until Deignan launched another attack two kilometres from the finish.
Deignan soloed to the victory. Archibald edged out Barnes in the sprint for second.
“It’s nice to go into the second half of the season with the champ’s jersey on my back,” said Deignan. “It definitely gives you wings.”