Three weeks after her victory in the Tour de Suisse, Blanka Vas has proven to be completely back at the front with a stage win in the Giro Donne. In the first stage of the Italian round in Sardinia, the Hungarian champion managed to win the sprint from a group of about 25 riders. In the last 30 meters she proved to have by far the highest speed and passed top riders such as Chloe Dygert and Liane Lippert. After Lorena Wiebes' stage win on day three, this is Team SD Worx' second stage success in the Giro Donne.
"Unbelievable. I never thought at the start this morning that I could win this stage," Vas told us after the stage. "Through our race radio they indicated in the finale that they had full confidence in me. That's why I went full out in the sprint."
After the crossing to Sardinia, Team SD Worx had only five riders left in the battle. Lorena Wiebes abandoned the battle in view of the Tour de France Femmes, while Elena Cecchini did not start again because she had stomach problems. However, the fivesome of Niamh Fisher-Black, Barbara Guarischi, Femke Markus, Anna Shackley and Blanka Vas remained highly motivated for the two final stages of the Giro Donne.
The 125.7-kilometer hilly ride from Nuoro to Sassari was run in tropical conditions of more than 30 degrees Celsius. "The last half hour I ran out of water, but luckily Niamh was able to bring me another water bottle. It was extremely hot all day. The sprint was slightly uphill and very tough. I love these kinds of arrivals. I knew I had to start the sprint late and was able to find the perfect moment," Vas said.
Team leader Anna van der Breggen called Vas' victory an important step in her career: "Blanka had the feeling from herself that so far she could handle mostly flat races of about a hundred kilometers with a climb at the finish. This was a tricky stage where it was up and downhill all day, while at times the thermometer even reached 40 degrees Celsius. On top of that, the ride was over 125 kilometers and also in a stage race that had been hard racing for a week. That she wins this stage with such a surplus in the sprint in a group with so many top riders is a huge boost for her. This will give her confidence a huge boost."
In the youth categories, the still only 21-year-old Vas was a class act. Whether she stepped on the road, mountain bike or cross bike, almost everywhere she played for the wins. In 2021, she finished fourth in the Olympic mountain bike race and fourth at the World Championships on the road in Leuven. "Then she rode her first season with the elite women and found out how high the level of the mostly older riders was. It takes time to compete at this level. You saw that last season she sometimes let her head hang a bit. This year I see that the fun is completely back. This win is important for Blanka. She will now realize that she can handle heavier races as well."