VN ticker: Deignan returns at Flèche, Evenepoel braced for battle with Pogačar at Liège, Wærenskjold extends

Here's the news making headlines on Monday, April 17.

Photo: Getty Images

Lizzie Deignan returns from maternity break at Flèche Wallonne

Lizzie Deignan confirmed Monday she will return to the peloton with Trek-Segafredo at La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday.

Deignan, 34, stepped away from racing in autumn 2021 to give birth to her second child and wasn’t expecting to return to the bunch until La Vuelta Femenina on May 1.

There is also the possibility that she will ride Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday, a race she won in 2020.

“Where did that six months go?! I actually can’t put it all into words, Flèche Wallone here I come,” Deignan wrote on Instagram.

Deignan regularly posted images of herself training both during pregnancy and in the time since her child was born.

Deignan’s comeback this week will mark the second time she returned from pregnancy. She also paused racing in 2018 to give birth to her first child and blasted back in the 2019 Ardennes classics. She won the GC of that year’s Tour of Britain just two months later.

Remco Evenepoel ‘will be ready’ for battle with Tadej Pogačar at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Evenepoel blitzed to solo victory at the 2022 Liège. (Photo: POOL PETER DE VOECHT/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Remco Evenepoel is braced for a big battle with Tadej Pogačar this weekend when he defends his title at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Soudal Quick-Step’s world champion is back down from altitude and raring to race Sunday in what will be his first competition since he finished second behind Primož Roglič at the Volta a Catalunya last month.

“Remco wanted to do another race before the Giro d’Italia,” team director Geert van Bondt told Het Nieuwsblad. “I don’t think the lack of recent racing will bother him. He also rode the UAE Tour and was fine there. Same in Catalunya.

“Guys like Remco, they are special. If they come to the race, they will be good. He will be ready.”

Soudal Quick-Step is counting on Evenepoel to salvage its spring Sunday after what was a very bumpy cobblestone campaign.

“If you are at the start with Remco, it gives extra motivation to the entire team. Whether we have to save our spring? Those are not my words. Wherever we start, we do our very best,” Van Bondt said.

“I am already looking forward to Wednesday first [where the rest of the team rides La Flèche Wallonne – ed] and then Sunday.”

Pogačar roars toward Flèche and Liège hot off the back of victories at Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold Race. Van Bondt is relishing the fireworks to come in Liège.

“It’s hard to be anything but impressed by Pogačar. In the Pogačar category you have few riders,” he said. “Fortunately, we also have one from that category at the start on Sunday.”

U23 TT champion Søren Wærenskjold extends with Uno-X

Søren Wærenskjold rides to gold in the U23 time trial
Søren Wærenskjold rode to gold in the U23 time trial in 2022. (Photo: Con Chronis/Getty Images)

Søren Wærenskjold renewed with Uno-X three more years.

Wærenskjold became one of only three riders to be booked in with the Scandinavian crew through 2026 when the team confirmed the news Monday.

The Norway-born Wærenskjold, 23, blitzed into the U23 rainbow jersey in the Wollongong world championships last summer and backed it up February with a stage win at the Saudi Tour.

The towering young talent also saw an impressive northern classics campaign this year, hitting the top-25 at Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix.

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