“I didn’t want to continue half-heartedly so I’m happy to give my full support to Lizzie now to work towards some great things over the next two years – things that I would never have been able to achieve. To race at the highest level you need to sacrifice so much and you need to be selfish in a way. There’s plenty of fathers out there racing and it’s a fantastic thing if you can continue racing as a father. But I think in our unique position where we’re both racing it would have been really hard with the amount of days we’d both be away. The unpredictable nature of the race programmes is another thing I had to factor in. It would have been really hard but we would never have compromised Orla, so it would have been the bike and the training that would have suffered.”
After getting his big break at French team Ag2r Prevoyance, Deignan moved to Cervelo Test Team in 2009 before stints at RadioShack, UnitedHealthcare and eventually Team Sky.
On what the sport of cycling has given him, he confirmed: “It gives you a great work ethic. You need to commit yourself so much to the lifestyle and to the training. A huge huge amount of sacrifice goes in, and I don’t think I’ll miss that part too much. 14 years is a good stint.
“It’s given me so much. I’ve worked with and met some amazing people over the years and travelled to so many amazing places. I’ve had some incredible experiences along the way. Like I said in my retirement statement, I feel very grateful to have been part of all that for so long. I can definitely look back on a career with a lot of good memories and not too many regrets or things I would change. It was all a continuous learning experience along the way, even in the last couple of years. It’s just been an incredible journey really and I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to do the sport that I love and get paid for it at the same time. I don’t under-estimate how much of a privilege that was.”