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On the eighth and longest stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia Internationale Femminile, Lizzy Banks soloed to victory with a late attack, while Annemiek Van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) retained the lead in the general classification.
Part of a breakaway of 10 riders that formed on the second climb of the day with 40 kilometers to go, Banks attacked in the final to take victory alone in Maniago.
“I think this won’t sink in for quite a few days,” said Banks after taking her first UCI victory. “I really can’t quite believe it. The group wasn’t working very well. We had to keep it rolling, and I was fully on my limit, but that’s the moment when you have to go. We were all tired. Leah [Thomas] was just killing herself to cover everything. I’m so excited, I love racing with her and the rest of the team, this is a real team victory.”
Despite several attempts by breakaway riders, the peloton remained together for the first 60 kilometers of stage 8. On the Forcella di Pala Barzana climb (five kilometers, averaging almost nine percent), the GC favorites took charge. Van Vleuten crested the summit solo, followed by her teammate Amanda Spratt, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), and Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans). For Van Vleuten, however, her time our front was short-lived. Ultimately, she sat up and let the group come back to her.
With almost 40 kilometers still to race, 10 riders got away on the 5.3-kilometer, six-percent Clauzetto climb. The group included Bigla duo Banks and Leah Thomas, Soraya Paladin (Al´ Cipollini), Pauliena Rooijakkers (CCC-Liv), Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), Malgorzata Jasinska (Movistar Team), Sofie De Vuyst (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo), Alice Maria Arzuffi (Valcar Cylance), and Kathrin Hammes (WNT-Rotor). They ultimately opened up a gap of two minutes.
With nearly 14 kilometers left to race, Banks attempted to attack the group but was quickly caught. Jasinska and Thomas also unsuccessfully tried to get away, and then Banks counterattacked with 11 kilometers to go. She opened a lead of 21 seconds with 10 kilometers to go.
Thomas diligently covered attacks in the chase group. Banks held her lead to the line to take the victory. Thomas won the sprint for second place 30 seconds later, and the peloton rolled in 2:56 minutes behind Banks.
Giro Rosa, stage 8
1. Elizabeth Banks (Bigla)
2. Leah Thomas (Bigla) + 0.30
3. Soraya Paladin (Alé Cipollini) s.t.
4. Malgorzata Jasinska (Movistar) s.t.
5. Sofie De Vuyst (Parkhotel Valkenburg) s.t.
6. Kathrin Hammes (WNT-Rotor) s.t.
7. Pauliena Rooijakkers (CCC-Liv) s.t.
8. Shara Gillow (FDJ) s.t.
9. Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) s.t.
10. Alice Maria Arzuffi (Valcar Cylance) s.t.
GC after stage 8
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott)
2. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) + 4.11
3. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) + 4.26
4. Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) + 5.26
5. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) + 5.33
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) + 5.46
7. Soraya Paladin (Alé Cipollini) + 6.06
8. Katie Hall (Boels-Dolmans) + 6.23
9. Ashleigh Moolman (CCC-Liv) + 6.42
10. Erica Magnaldi (WNT-Rotor) + 6.49