Bigla Pro Cycling’s Giro Rosa has gone from good to great after Elizabeth Banks took a super solo victory in stage 8. The British rider finished first in a Bigla 1-2 ahead of teammate Leah Thomas who led home the chase group.

Since a fantastic opening stage of the 2019 Giro Rosa that saw Bigla Pro Cycling finish second in the team time trial, the race has been one of highs and lows.  Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig finished third on day 3 to move up to second overall, but then lost time in stage 5 to Lago di Cancano; now sitting 14th overall with two stages remaining.

Stage 8, from Vittorio Veneto to Managio was the longest of the 2019 edition, featuring two categorised climbs before the gently upward run to the line.  Despite a number of early attacks nothing was able to materialise successfully.  The GC riders came to the fore on the climb of the Forcella di Pala Barzana, with overall leader Annemiek van Vleuten of Mitchelton-SCOTT looking strong as she crested the top ahead of the next group on the road.

Elizabeth Banks is congratulated by her teammates after winning stage 8, photo Anton Vos

Van Vleuten carried a 30 second lead into the bottom of the descent, but decided with the calibre of the chasing group that included the likes of Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio of CCC-Liv, Trek-Segafredo’s Elisa Longo Borghini and Boels Dolmans’ Anna van der Breggen to sit up and wait for the chasers.

Gradually, after the animation of the mid-section of the stage, a peloton of about 50 riders formed at the front of the race.  They remained together until the final climb of the day where an 11-strong group including Elizabeth Banks and Leah Thomas managed to get away.  This time the break managed to stay clear, building a lead of 51 seconds at the top of the climb and growing that out to 1.31mins with 20km to go.  

Banks tried a couple of times to get away but it was her second attack that was the masterstroke.  Attacking right from the back of the group, the Brit caught everyone else off-guard and took off to build a hasty 21 second lead with 10km to go.  Leah Thomas did a terrific job of pegging back the multiple attacks that came and went from the rest of the breakaway move, allowing Banks to simply get on with extending her advantage out to 30 seconds by the time she reached the finish line.  

Elizabeth Banks (centre) and Leah Thomas (left) took a Bigla Pro Cycling 1-2 in stage 8 of the Giro Rosa, photo Anton Vos

Thomas took the sprint for second place ahead of Alé Cipollini’s Soraya Paladin.  

The main field containing the GC favourites crossed the line 2.56mins behind Banks with Marianne Vos leading them home.  Mikayla Harvey of Bigla Pro Cycling among the group, just losing a couple of seconds to the Vos group, with Deborah Paine of Cogeas-Mettler Pro Cycling in the next group back again.

Stage 9 of the Giro Rosa is set to be decisive as the riders take on the 125.5km stage from Gemona to Chiusaforte/Malga Montasio.  The one and only climb of the day is a monstrous 12.4km in length, averaging 7.3% and hitting sections of over 13%.

Stage results:

RankLast NameFirst NameCountryTeamResult
1BANKSElizabethGBR       BIGLA03’38’17
2THOMASLeahUSA       BIGLA03’38’47
3PALADINSorayaITA       ALE CIPOLLINI03’38’47
4JASINSKAMalgorzataPOL       MOVISTAR TEAM WOMEN03’38’47
5DE VUYSTSofieBEL       PARKHOTEL VALKENBURG03’38’47
6HAMMESKathrinGER       WNT ROTOR PRO CYCLING TEAM03’38’47
7ROOIJAKKERSPaulienNED       CCC – LIV03’38’47
8GILLOWSharaAUS       FDJ NOUVELLE – AQUITAINE FUTUROSCOPE03’38’47
9WINDERRuthUSA       TREK – SEGAFREDO03’38’47
10ARZUFFIAlice MariaITA       VALCAR CYLANCE CYCLING03’38’47
OTHERS:




39HARVEYMikaylaNZL       BIGLA03’41’23
58PAINEDeborahNZL       COGEAS METTLER LOOK PRO CYCLING TEAM03’47’10

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