Britain’s Lizzie Deignan says Saturday’s World Championships road race is “anybody’s” as she bids to defend the title she won last year.
The 27-year-old would match compatriot Beryl Burton, who won her second title in 1967, with victory on the flat 134.5km course in Doha, Qatar.
“We have a young, dynamic team. I’m excited to have a go,” said Deignan.
The 257.3km men’s race takes place on Sunday, with Briton Mark Cavendish, 31, aiming for a second rainbow jersey.
No British man has won more than one world road race title – Cavendish’s victory in 2011 and Tom Simpson’s in 1965 are the only successes to date.
The women’s and men’s courses are flat, with both expected to end in a sprint finish.
- More at stake than titles for Britain at World Championships
Deignan won gold in the team time trial with Boels-Dolmans on Sunday.
Dani King and Hannah Barnes are alternative options within a British team completed by Alice Barnes, Annasley Park, Laura Massey, Abby-Mae Parkinson and Eileen Roe.
“We’ll have eight women in the race, which we’ve not really had before, and this course offers us opportunities,” added Deignan.
“We have a lot of cards to play, which is quite exciting at a World Championships for us. It’s not one that I’ve prepared specifically for but I think it’s anybody’s race.“
Slovakia’s Peter Sagan will attempt to defend the men’s title, while Cavendish faces competition from fellow sprinters Andre Greipel, Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb, who will all compete for Germany.
France’s team includes Nacer Bouhanni and Arnaud Demare, Italy have Giacomo Nizzolo and Elia Vivani, and Caleb Ewan and Michael Matthews will represent Australia.
Adam Blythe, Steve Cummings, Dan McLay, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas and Scott Thwaites complete the GB men’s team.
Deignan on her ‘traumatic year’
Before the Olympics, Deignan – formerly Armitstead, she married Team Sky’s Irish rider Philip Deignan in September – faced a possible two-year suspension for missing three drugs tests in a 12-month period.
But one test was declared void after an appeal in early August, allowing her to compete in Rio, where she finished fifth in the road race.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say it was extremely difficult. It was traumatic to be honest,” she told BBC Sport.
“But I am proud of the way we got through it as a family. I can say I have grown because of it, and am incredibly grateful for those who supported me.
“They are not great memories but I suppose you learn from everything in life. It’s been a very up and down year but I’m proud of what I achieved.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/37655115