Van Vleuten holds onto the pink jersey for another day after stage eight of the Giro-RosaFri 12 Jul 2019
The eighth and longest stage of the Giro-Rosa saw Mitchelton-SCOTT work to keep race leader Annemiek van Vleuten safe and in the Maglia Rosa for another day.
In the final 40kilometres, a breakaway group of 10riders jumped away and with all the general classification contenders watching each other behind in the main peloton, the group was able to gain some distance and survive all the way to the finish line.
A late attacker, Elizabeth Banks (Bigla Pro Team), held on to take a solo stage win with Van Vleuten, Amanda Spratt and Lucy Kennedy all finishing safely in the main bunch.
A surprise attack
The stage began with a flurry of attacks but once again no riders were able to get away in the opening kilometres.
Mid-way through the race, on the first of two categorised climbs of the day, Van Vleuten attacked and rode away solo, cresting the top around 15 seconds ahead of a reduced chase group containing all the GC riders and teammate Spratt.
Van Vleuten's attack was a surprise for many, but came from the idea of starting the tricky descent in a good postion, rather than riding down in a large group.
After the descent the peloton settled down as Van Vleuten returned to the group of chasers which had swelled in size with 70kilometres still left to race.
A breakaway goes
On the rolling roads towards the finish line, Mitchelton-SCOTT and Van Vleuten were happy to let a group of 10riders breakaway. This allowed the two-time stage winner to remain relaxed in the main bunch with the general classification under no threat.
After finishing the stage safely, Van Vleuten holds on to her sizeable overall race lead of four-minutes and 11seconds going into tomorrow's penultimate stage, the final summit finish of the race.
Annemiek van Vleuten
“It was a really, really good day for us today, the girls where awesome, even better than the last days. I had goosebumps seeing all five of them, the black and yellow Mitchelton-SCOTT train riding in front of me.
“I attacked on the main climb with about two-kilometres from the top just because we did a recon and I knew the climb and that descent was quite dangerous.
"Girls without the pink jersey could take it fast and take more risks down the decent to put me under pressure or the podium under pressure for the general classification, so I just wanted to go down the descent ahead in order to be safe.
“I was actually eager to continue ahead once I had a gap but I know tomorrow is an important day and that wasn’t the plan for today to get away.”
Giro-Rosa - Stage 8 Results:
1. Elizabeth Banks (Bigla Pro Team) 3:38:17
2. Leah Thomas (Bigla Pro Team) +0:30
3. Soraya Paladin (Ale-Cipollini) +0:30
21. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +2:56
General Classification after stage 8:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 18:43:01
2. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) +4:11
3. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) +4:26
Photos courtesy of Getty Images