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Lizzie Deignan announces second pregnancy and return to racing in 2023

Lizzie Deignan and her daughter Orla
Lizzie Deignan and her daughter Orla (Image credit: SWpix.com)

Lizzie Deignan has announced she will take a break from racing to become a mother for a second time in September. However, the Paris-Roubaix winner will return in 2023, with Trek-Segafredo extending her contract until 2024.

"Phil and I are delighted to let everyone know that we are expecting our second child in September," Deignan said via Trek-Segafredo, posting a photo of her first child Orla as she discovered she will soon have a sister or brother.

Deignan gave birth to Orla in 2019 and then made a successful comeback to professional cycling, winning The Women’s Tour in her first year back. In late 2021 she made history as the first female winner of Paris-Roubaix. 

"Obviously having a baby is a big decision, but it wasn’t a difficult one for us. We’ve always wanted to have a big family and I think the time is right to have another child," Deignan said. 

"Orla is ready for a sibling, I feel like I am established and able in my career to make the next step to have another child and everything behind the scenes fell into place. All the logical stuff like having a settled team and settled where we live was all really good. It was an emotional, but logical decision to make our family bigger."

Deignan has not raced in 2022 but plans to continue racing in 2023 and 2024 with Trek-Segafredo. 

"I feel like I still have plenty to give from an athletic standpoint. For me, it was always obvious that if we were able to have another baby then I would still return to cycling," Deignan said.

"I never expected to continue my career through not just one, but two pregnancies, but actually there’s been so many examples now of successful women returning to the sport, and especially older women returning to the sport. I don’t think the same stereotype of athletes retiring at 30 in their prime is necessarily true anymore.

"Having been through the journey of having a baby and returning to the sport, I’ve realised that it is possible, and physically it’s actually easier than I expected. It’s obviously demanding and challenging on your body but it’s certainly not limiting, so that was a huge surprise after having Orla, and something that helps my decision in coming back after another baby. 

"It’s the stuff around it; the family life balance that sometimes is difficult to manage, but I also think that we’re at the point now, three years after having Orla, that we know what we’re doing and we feel like we can manage more, and we actually enjoy that."

Deignan joined Trek-Segafredo in 2018 during her first pregnancy, and the team offered her their full support, confirming her palace in the team for 2023 and beyond.

"It’s been quite an emotional experience, actually. Talking with Trek and telling them about my pregnancy, they gave me their complete support," Deignan said. 

"I first told Ina, my Sports Director, and her immediate response was ‘That’s f***ing awesome, congratulations!’ That took me back, really. It meant so much to me personally to have that support. I’m a professional athlete in a professional cycling team, but the support feels very personal and I’m incredibly grateful."

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Stephen Farrand
Stephen Farrand

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.