Lizzie Deignan reveals she’s in a ‘completely different place’ than Rio 2016, where the Team GB cyclist got caught up in a doping storm… while planning to become Olympic road race champion
Five years after the furore over her performance in Rio, Lizzie Deignan hopes a more relaxed preparation can lead her to Olympic success.
The 32-year-old was in the midst of stormy days ahead of the 2016 road race when Sports post revealed she was fighting a doping ban over three whereabouts errors.
In the end, one of the strikes she had originally decided not to contest was erased from her record by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, allowing her to participate. Her presence was not well received by some and her fifth place, after silver in London, was a disappointment.
Lizzie Deignan hopes a more relaxed prep than Rio 2016 can help her Olympic bid
The Team GB star (above) battled a doping ban over three errors in the Rio residence
This time, the lead up to the race, which takes place on Sunday, was calmer – even with a new addition to the family.
“Personally and professionally I am in a completely different place than five years ago,” said the Otley-born cyclist. “I’m married, had a child and lived through a pandemic, so my view of the importance of being here is different.
“I’m still focused, I still want to win, but my ability to keep a perspective on where it stands in my life isn’t the same.”
Deignan hopes to improve on her fifth place finish in Rio this summer at Sunday’s road race
Deignan, who will tackle a grueling 137km climb in the shadow of Mount Fuji, admits the Rio feud had an impact on her.
“Without a doubt,” she said. “To become an Olympic champion you have to build up perfectly, and mentally it was a very challenging time. That said, it wasn’t really a degree that suited me.
“Now I just try not to plan too much and carry too much information with me. I have a pretty good racing instinct, so I tend not to complicate it.’