We’re Inching Toward Equality for Women in Sports


As the girls’ expert-cycling season kicks off, all eyes can be on Lizzie Deignan. The former avenue world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist has her points of interest set at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships in September—with a purpose to run via the streets of her domestic county of Yorkshire, England—and, in the long run, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. But Deignan gained’t is at the beginning line of the first or maybe the second race of the season. In reality, she probably gained’t kit up till June—roughly nine months after giving the start to her first child.

We're Inching Toward Equality for Women in Sports 1

That the 30-year-vintage British cyclist is plotting ago back to the highest stages of racing is something even she didn’t count on. “I notion motherhood would be the cease of my profession,” she says. There aren’t many ladies in road cycling who have successfully blended being a mom and an athlete. Plus, she didn’t suppose it changed into possible to step far away from the sport, after which come again. Many contracts incorporate clauses that permit for termination if a rider becomes pregnant. “I by no means notion I might be in a economic role to take 12 months off,” she says. After pronouncing her being pregnant in March 2018, Deignan and her team, Boels-Dolmans, at the same time parted approaches.Deignan knew that news of her being pregnant might limit her professional alternatives. However there was one crew keen to sign her.

Trek, the powerhouse U.S.–based bike organization, wanted to invest in a ladies’ software along with its men’s WorldTour crew—and it became challenging about bringing Deignan on board. “She’s an absolute champion of the sport, on and off the motorcycle, and she or he can deliver an entire employer to any other stage,” says Tim Vanderjeugd, Trek’s director of sports activities advertising. “The news of her being pregnant didn’t alternate our view at all.”  “I was truly amazed Trek approached me, and they’re provide pondered my value as an elite athlete at my first-class, instead of a threat due to my being pregnant,” says Deignan. “They efficiently included my maternity before I even started out racing for them.”