The 29-year-old will not be defending her crown in her home county this year as she is expecting her first child with husband and Team Sky rider Philip Deignan.
But the Otley-born Deignan, who won silver at the London 2012 road race and a world title under her maiden name Armitstead, is a prominent voice in the push for equality.
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When asked by the Guardian whether sexism in cycling is still prevalent, she responded: “Yes. We are still fighting for more races, we are still fighting for more coverage, more budget, more sponsors. We are still a long way behind the men.”
The Tour de Yorkshire gets under way on Thursday and, though the event pays both sexes equally, Deignan questioned why the women’s race will end on Friday when the men’s concludes on Sunday.
She added: “Don’t get me wrong, the fact that we have a huge prize pot is great and it’s great that it’s the same as the men, but I would prefer to get to race for four days.”
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