Lizzy Banks: ‘I actually consider that I will be world champion in the future’

Lizzy Banks: 'I truly believe that I can be world champion one day'

Lizzy Banks was simply coming to the top of one other vastly encouraging season when the bombshell dropped final month that her workforce Équipe Paule Ka was folding with instant impact.

It turned out Paule Ka, the French trend label who entered the game in a blaze of glory and optimistic PR this summer time, rescuing Bigla from oblivion after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, weren’t fairly the shining knights that they had made themselves out to be. 

Regardless of committing to three-and-a-half-years of sponsorship, they solely paid one instalment in July earlier than going very quiet.

“The entire thing was an absolute catastrophe,” says Banks. “When your workforce folds in October, in a yr the place there’s been a world pandemic, and we’re getting ready to an enormous world recession, and each different workforce have crammed their roster [for 2021]… completely horrendous. At that time, frankly, we had been all screwed.”

Fortuitously, Banks was not fairly as screwed as she thought. The 30-year-old, who solely started racing in 2015, quitting medical college to chase her biking dream, is a rising power within the ladies’s peloton as she demonstrated when racing resumed in August. 

It was Banks who instigated the successful transfer at GP de Plouay in August, ultimately ending second behind compatriot Lizzie Deignan. Weeks later, she received the 170km fourth stage on the Giro Rosa, using the final 90km within the firm of 1 different rider.

Varied choices emerged with Banks confirming on Wednesday that she is going to trip for Ceratizit-WNT in 2021. 

Whereas they’re a UCI Continental outfit somewhat than a part of the Girls’s WorldTour, Banks says she is thrilled to be becoming a member of a workforce with former world champion Lisa Brennauer and Dutch powerhouse Kirsten Wild on their books. “It’s a superb workforce,” she says. “Clearly, you will have the star names. We noticed final weekend that Lisa Brennauer received the Madrid Problem by La Vuelta. However what was notable was that it was a unbelievable workforce efficiency. I feel there’s a lot expertise there. It is simply effervescent and ready to return by means of.”

“Additionally, with Boels-Dolmans shifting as much as the WorldTour, we’ll really be the top-ranked Continental workforce. So we’ll access all of the Girls’s WorldTour races off the again of that. It is an excellent place to be in. In any respect the massive races, however you do not have the duty to chase issues down such as you would if you happen to had been at Trek-Segafredo or Boels-Dolmans for example.”

Banks says she feels she and Brennauer, specifically, can work effectively collectively. “I feel that mixture is one thing that may be very thrilling, very dynamic, and really harmful,” she says. “I really feel humorous evaluating myself to someone who has received a lot and is such a prolific racer, however I do really feel that our types are fairly comparable; that the areas the place one in all us is barely weaker, maybe the opposite one makes up for it. 

“I feel you are going to have two tactically sensible riders throughout all terrain who, particularly with the backing of a extremely, actually sturdy dynamic workforce can actually create some fireworks and hopefully get some actually huge outcomes subsequent yr.” Banks ought to get loads of alternatives to take action. She says the workforce “completely mirror” her ambitions and given her ambitions are fairly lofty, that should imply management alternatives. The Sheffield-based rider is definitely not afraid to goal excessive.

“I actually consider that I generally is a world champion in the future,” says Banks who believes age is not any barrier. “Perhaps it received’t be subsequent yr or the one after however I consider I can get there and I will be among the best riders on the earth. I’ve solely been racing for 5 years. I’ve solely simply completed in my second yr racing in Europe. It’s fairly unbelievable when you concentrate on how far I’ve come. To suppose Ronde van Drenthe was my first ladies’s WorldTour race in 2019.

“I had no thought what I used to be doing. I realized trip crosswinds in the midst of that race. I do not need kids in the meanwhile, and possibly not sooner or later both. So yeah, I actually see no barrier.

“Plus,” she provides, “if someone tells me that I am unable to do one thing, I’ll do my bloody hardest to ensure I can do it. Have a look at Annemiek [van Vleuten]. She is 38.”

Within the instant future, Banks’s focus will likely be on knuckling all the way down to a winter of onerous coaching. However her ideas are already turning to subsequent yr.

She had designs on the Tour de Yorkshire just for it to be postponed on Wednesday as a result of Covid. However she remains to be concentrating on the Girls’s Tour in June (“To get a podium there can be a dream”) in addition to the spring classics, significantly the elusive Tour of Flanders.

“I didn’t get to trip it final yr as a result of I bought concussion after which this spring it was cancelled due to Covid, after which this autumn my workforce couldn’t race due to folding. I simply really feel like it’s a type of races that, you understand, would most likely actually go well with me.” Banks can be hoping to be named in Britain’s Olympic workforce. Most of all, although, she is simply excited to mattress into her new workforce after a interval of giant uncertainty, which left her pressured and struggling to sleep. 

Banks feels the ladies’s facet of biking is “positively entering into the appropriate route” even when it was a tragic reflection of the occasions that she and her fellow Équipe Paule Ka riders had been scrabbling round for contracts price a fraction of what the highest males earn. 

A survey of riders revealed by the Cyclists’ Alliance final week discovered that solely 1 / 4 of respondents had been making greater than €30,000 a yr. There’s a minimal wage of €15,000 for riders employed by their workforce and €24,600 for self-employed riders, however these requirements apply solely to the 9 Girls’s WorldTour groups.

“The quantities that we’re are a drop within the ocean in comparison with how a lot how a lot males’s groups are run with. If I stated to Chris Froome, ‘Can I’ve one per cent of your wage?’ That’d be a reasonably good wage for a girl. He would not even discover. To not decide on Froome who has clearly received seven grand excursions, however nonetheless, yeah…”

“Final month was a extremely f—— s— state of affairs. I’ve not been that pressured for a extremely, actually very long time. I wasn’t sleeping. I imply, we have dedicated to doing main constructing works on our home. I used to be speculated to be the principle breadwinner. Abruptly, it put large stress on my husband. It’s all labored out fairly effectively in the long run however I’d by no means want that stress upon anybody.”

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