Lizzie Deignan will make a much-anticipated return to UK road racing at this year’s Ford RideLondon Classique, which takes place between Friday 26th May and Sunday 28th May. Deignan, a former World Road Race Champion and four-time British Road Race Champion, has returned to competitive action after the birth of her second child last year. Her entry into the Ford RideLondon Classique, Britain’s only UCI Women’s World Tour race, will be her first UK appearance since her comeback. The Trek-Segafredo rider is the highlight name among the provisional start list for this year’s race, which was announced today.
Deignan is part of a strong British contingent in the field, which also includes Pfeiffer Georgi, former National Road Race Champion and winner of this year’s Classic Brugge-De Panne, Anna Henderson, former National Road Race Time-Trial Champion and winner of the 2022 RideLondon Classique’s Ford Queen of the Mountain’s jersey, and Alice Towers, the current National Road Race Champion.
Other stellar names set to compete include: Elisa Balsamo, former World Champion and second-place finisher at RideLondon 2022, Chiara Consonni, Giro d’Italia Donne stage winner and former champion of Dwars door Vlaanderen, and Charlotte Kool, a stage winner at the Vuelta Feminina last week.
Deignan, the London 2012 Olympic silver medallist and two-times Commonwealth Games medallist, last raced on home soil at the Women’s Tour in October 2021, before becoming a mother for the second time. She made her return to racing last month when she rode La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, before completing the Vuelta Feminina.
Deignan said, “It is a pleasure to be racing the Ford RideLondon Classique this year after so long off the bike. I have some miles in my legs after an earlier than anticipated comeback and am feeling strong for this race. The beautiful countryside of Essex and the iconic London stage finishing on The Mall promise to be packed with cycling enthusiasts and I hope to be able to open the door to this fantastic sport to the next generation of cyclists.”
Scott Sunderland, Ford RideLondon Classique Race Director, said: “We are over the moon that Lizzie will make her much-anticipated return to the roads of the UK at the 2023 Ford RideLondon Classique. Lizzie is synonymous with the most successful period in British cycling history and has inspired a generation of women and girls to get on the bike and take up cycling. This year’s Classique is a wide-open field and predicting the winner is no mean feat. Lizzie joins a host of talented riders from Great Britain and around the world in showcasing the quality of the women’s peloton to the people of London and Essex, and the thousands of spectators who travel to watch. It promises to be a very exciting event.”
6 of the 10 leading teams in the UCI Women’s World Tour Rankings have been confirmed for this year’s race, which is the only UCI World Tour race to be held in the UK in 2023.
Trek-Segafredo, FDJ-Suez, Team DSM, Canyon//SRAM Racing, UAE Team ADQ and Team Jumbo-Visma are all confirmed to race in this year’s event. In total, 19 teams of six riders will take part, including nine UCI Women’s WorldTour teams and 10 UCI Women’s Continental teams. Among the UCI Women’s Continental teams are three British teams: AWOL O’Shea, DAS-Handsling Bikes and Lifeplus Wahoo.
The Ford RideLondon Classique will begin with two stages in Essex on Friday 26th May and Saturday 27th May. Stage One (150km) is from Saffron Walden to Colchester while Stage Two (140km) starts and finishes in Maldon. The final stage (91km) is the iconic finale in central London, starting and finishing on The Mall.