Lizzy Banks (Bigla) rode to her first professional win on stage eight of the Giro Rosa 2019, attacking from a breakaway group with 10km to go and going solo, taking out a gap of 30 seconds by the time she crossed the finish line.
What is even more remarkable is the fact Banks only started riding in 2015. Speaking to Cycling Weekly after her win, the 28-year-old said how she had been “dying” at the start of the day but managed to turn it around to get in the breakaway and then go on to take the stage win.
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“What a day, I can’t believe it, I was really suffering in the beginning. I was saying to the girls at the start of the day ‘I have really s**t legs today’, I was really dying,” Banks said.
“I killed myself to get over the first climb and we really wanted to get in the break today. We were a little bit down, losing some seconds on GC, but we knew we still had the strength and we really wanted to take the opportunity.”
The breakaway went away after 90km had been ridden, with a group of ten going up the road, with Banks’ American team-mate Leah Thomas going ahead in the group before the Brit bridged across.
“So Leah [Thomas] went up the road, some people followed and I bridged across and we were the only team with two. So we knew we had to keep it rolling until we got a gap, the peloton let us get a gap, and then about 15km to go we knew we had to go. Leah attacked, I was fully on the limit but we knew that was the moment we had to go,” Banks said.
It was a one-two for Bigla, as Thomas led the breakaway group across the line 30 seconds later.
“I just found out Leah came second as well so it’s the best feeling in the world,” Banks continued.
“I’m just so thrilled this is my first professional win and to do it at the Giro in the WorldTour, I’m pretty emotional.”
Two stages remain in the Giro Rosa 2019, with Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) leading the general classification with an advantage of more than four minutes over Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans).