Giro Rosa: Lizzy Banks wins stage four as Annemiek van Vleuten retains lead

Cycling

Britain’s Lizzy Banks claimed stage four of the Giro Rosa in Tivoli.

The 29-year-old, who won stage eight of last year’s race, prevailed in the 170km stage, the longest of the nine in the event, which concludes on Saturday.

Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten, who has held the leader’s jersey since stage two, retained the overall lead as she seeks a third successive title.

Banks will ride in both the road race and time trial at the UCI Road World Championships from 24-27 September.

Midway through stage four, Equipe Paule Ka rider Banks and Slovenia’s Eugenia Bujak, who competes for Ale BTC Ljubljana, opened up a gap of almost six minutes.

The Briton timed her push for the line perfectly over the cobbles in the final kilometres and won by eight seconds, with Mitchelton-Scott’s Van Vleuten securing third, one minute 11 seconds behind.

Banks told BBC Sport: “My stage win last year was amazing because it was my first professional win, and it was really quite a different feeling because I’d never won a big bike race before… and I’ve not had another win since then.

“This one, I’d already tasted victory and I really knew that I just had to win. I couldn’t let the team down and come second so I really gave everything on the final bit. It’s a different feeling, but it’s also just the same and I’m really delighted.”

Tuesday’s fifth stage begins and ends in Terracina, a 110.3km route including two ascents.

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