Lizzie Deignan pregnancy puts cycling career on hold

Briton expecting first child in September but aims to return for 2019 Worlds, Olympics

Former world champion Lizzie Deignan announced on Wednesday that she is expecting her first child in September with husband and Team Sky pro Philip Deignan.

The Boels Dolmans rider had already declined a spot on Great Britain's team for the Commonwealth Games, where she won the road race four years ago, and had not yet started racing this season. She made the announcement of her pregnancy via Instagram.

"Philip and I are delighted to announce that we are expecting our first child in September," Lizzie Deignan said. "We both feel incredibly lucky and grateful that we are going to become parents. We are excited and full of anticipation for how our lives are going to change."

Deignan aims to follow in the footsteps of numerous fellow professionals who have returned to the top level of the sport after becoming parents, with an aim at the 2019 World Championships in Yorkshire and then closing out her cycling career at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

"I am also proud to announce that I am aiming to return to professional cycling in 2019 and 2020. I have been inspired by countless women who have showed how successful and feasible this challenge could be. My dream of becoming World Champion at home in Yorkshire is still my dream, I will just have more people to share the journey with.

"Thank you to those who have believed in me, my husband, family and friends who all support me. I will continue to ride for Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team, who have been the catalyst to success in my career. I hope to finish my career in 2020 at the pinnacle of my sport, the Tokyo Olympic Games. Bring it on!"

The Boels Dolmans team said that Deignan's absence "will be a big loss for the team, but Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team completely understands and supports Deignan's choice. The team will compensate for Deignan's loss in 2018 as best as it can, having already taken two Women's WorldTour wins this year, and is already looking forward to her return in 2019 and 2020."

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