Lizzie Deignan and her Trek-Segafredo team have been confirmed as winners of both the individual and team rankings of the UCI Women's WorldTour for 2020, with Deignan admitting that she hadn't started the season with any expectation of winning it, but that she was delighted to take the overall title at the end of what was a tough season for everyone.
Deignan won three of this season's 11 WorldTour events – the GP de Plouay, La Course by Le Tour de France and Liège-Bastogne-Liège – with the British rider first taking the overall lead in the competition after La Course in late August. She then temporarily lost her lead to Boels Dolmans' Anna van der Breggen following Flèche Wallonne in September, but Deignan regained the WorldTour leader's jersey after winning Liège on October 4, and then defended it for the rest of the season.
While Van der Breggen finished the season as the world's number-one-ranked rider – which includes the WorldTour races along with all other events, including the World Championships road race, which the Dutchwoman won – Trek-Segafredo Women also finished the season as the number-one-ranked team in the world, while Elisa Longo Borghini finished the year as the number-two-ranked rider in the world, as well as finishing second in the WorldTour competition behind teammate Deignan.
"I'm really delighted to win the Women's WorldTour overall," Deignan said on her team's website. "It's not something I expected at the start of this season. The fact that Elisa was second in the ranking shows just how strong we were as a team, and that we won the WorldTour team ranking as well.
"I think it's a reflection of all the hard work and dedication that everyone put into the season," the 31-year-old continued. "It wasn't by any means an easy season. I have to say I have huge admiration and respect for my American teammates who came over and raced their hearts out in a season when it was difficult to know when they would be able to get home.
"Lauretta [Hanson] from Australia had the same situation. Then Audrey [Cordon-Ragot] and Elisa had really tough lockdowns with not being able to train outside," Deignan said of her French and Italian teammates. "I was really inspired and motivated by everybody's commitment, enthusiasm, and motivation to race. There was this momentum in the team with people like Audrey winning the French national champion's title, and once the ball was rolling, it just kept going."
When considering what it was that led to her and her team's success during this coronavirus-pandemic-affected season, Deignan suggested that it was plain, old-fashioned teamwork that got them through.
"I think it's down to the fact that we're such a united team and kept each other motivated at all times. We completely trust and respect each other, and I think that really shows in the way that we race. Even though it's only our second season as a team, it wasn't a surprise to me that we did so well. I could see already in the training camps in the winter, before the pandemic hit, that we were in a really good place on and off the bike," she said.
Team director Ina Teutenberg added: "In 2020, we achieved specific goals and accomplished even more by winning the WWT team and individual classifications. I think this proves we came out of lockdown in good shape, physically and mentally. The team worked extremely well, and that shows in the results that we achieved.
"I think in this second season as a team, the riders bonded well despite the unusual year we had," continued Teutenberg. "I think we can further build on that strong team base for next season and try to win some more big races.
"The riders trust each other and are individually willing to give it all for the team. I think that had a big impact this season and was one of the key reasons why we were so successful," she said.
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1