Going into the Tour de Suisse Women, Deignan was one of the favourites and lined up at the start wearing the bib number 1, and things seemed to be going to plan on stage 1 as the 32-year-old was part of a select group of five that got away halfway through the stage. She then followed Chabbey when the Swiss champion attacked 15.5 kilometres from the finish.
Chabbey and Deignan did not attack each other during those run-in, both seemingly happy to contest the sprint against each other. Deignan, known as an explosive rider with a very good sprint, must have fancied her chances – but in the end, she was beaten by Chabbey who lured Deignan into starting the sprint before coming around to win.
"I felt strong, I just messed it up in the finish," Deignan admitted after the stage. "We were in the perfect situation, but unfortunately, I totally messed up the sprint, so it is on me, really."
On stage 2, Deignan will wear the black mountain jersey, and she remains in striking distance of Chabbey, the four-second deficit coming from time bonifications at the stage 1 finish. The second and final stage is pan flat, ten laps of a short circuit in and around Frauenfeld, with intermediate sprints on the fourth and seventh lap offering bonus seconds.
Deignan promised that the Trek-Segafredo team would race aggressively: "There's only four seconds difference, so tomorrow we can make it up. It will be an exciting race for sure!"
Swiss riders show themselves on home roads
In addition to the eventual stage winner Chabbey, the five-rider breakaway included two more Swiss riders in the first women's edition of the Tour de Suisse in twenty years. Marlen Reusser (Alé BTC Ljubljana) and Jolanda Neff (Swiss National Team) also flew the red flag with the Swiss cross high.
Reusser and Chabbey have both been very visible this season, either working for their team leaders or attacking themselves.
Racing for the Swiss national team, world-class mountainbiker Neff added even more firepower to the break, and with Mikayla Harvey (Canyon-SRAM) also in the mix, the group had no trouble building a large enough advantage to fight for the win on the final lap.
With Chabbey and Deignan gone, the final kilometres turned into a flurry of attacks as Reusser, Neff, and Harvey all chased that third podium spot, and eventually it was the strong timetriallist Reusser who got a gap to finish third.
Looking back at the stage afterwards, Reusser expressed her delight at such a strong showing from the Swiss.
"I was so happy to see that breakaway," she said. "I was the only one from my team, but with my heart, I was happy we were three strong Swiss girls in that strong breakaway with Lizzie Deignan and Mikayla Harvey. It was just perfect. I would have liked to win, but I am so happy that Elise could win today, it was fantastic."
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