Stage eight, done and dusted. The longest stage in the Giro Rosa Iccrea 2019 was a 133,3km course from Vittorio Veneto to Maniago. Compared to other days, the hotel was relatively close to the start, so the team could remain sleeping a little longer. Also, compared to other days, the town of Vittorio Veneto was spacious, and the team zone did not have limited access due to narrow, small streets or steep mountain roads. The riders prepared to the very last minute and Nina encouraged the others to hurry up, because there is only so much time left to sign and get the official stuff out of the way.
The square in front of the town hall was completely cycling centered and the stage was largely set up. There were many people around and many middle-aged men who were after a selfie with Annemiek van Vleuten. Even Sophie could not escape the fan-boy circus and was asked for a photo (that had to be retaken until it was perfect). Our Belgian Sofie was back wearing the green jersey again and lined up at the front, next to the other jerseys. The count-down had already started when she decided to take one last gel and had to carry it in her mouth while clipping in and riding off. The peloton was led out of Veneto by a bunch of cycling youth and the pros steadily followed their example.
The bunch remained together for quite some time, but random attacks were also made. The gaps did not grow to anything significant, which included the attempt for a breakaway that Sofie de Vuyst was part of. The climbs were long and hard, and unfortunately Sophie de Boer had to abandon the race and step of the bike. The Giro virus had gotten the best of her.
With 46km to go, a serious breakaway had shaped and Sofie was again part of it and this hero took the second GPM points. The breakaway group remained in the lead and would stay in the lead until the finish. During the race, it was mostly sunshine and high temperatures, but at the finish line things had taken a turn. Somehow, the Italian weather decided to screw things up and it had started to rain. This is a bad combination for racing on thin tires and the little cobble stones of the road to the finish line. Elizabeth Banks from Bigla had broken away from that leading group and there was no way they were going to catch her. Sofie had raced an amazing race and took fifth place. Nina and Demi were in the group behind her, respectively having the 28th and 19th best time.
Tomorrow, rur five remaining riders will make their way to Gemona and they will be ready to face the 125km long course to Montasio.