Lizzy Banks will have her eyes on the Paris Olympics when she competes for Great Britain in Thursday’s time trial at the rearranged UCI Road World Championships in Imola.
The 29-year-old is perhaps not a noted time trialist but she has set herself the challenge of changing that in the next four years – and she is aiming high.
“I know I have the raw power, I need the time and the investment on the aero side,” Banks said.
Just 2 days to the 2020 UCI Road World ChampionshipsWe're making it real.
— Imola – Emilia-Romagna 2020 (@Imola_Er2020) September 22, 2020
“It’s really a learning experience. I truly believe that in 2024, I see no reason I wouldn’t be one of the riders competing at the highest level at the Olympics.
“For me it’s about taking the small steps to get there. Every time you go to a major championships it’s a huge learning experience.”
Having come to the sport late, Banks is still in only her third season as a professional rider. The Equipe Paule Ka rider has made up for lost time rapidly on the road, collecting a second career stage win in the Giro Rosa last week to add to an already impressive collection of results.
The art of time trialling is not an area in which she has invested much of her time yet, but it is one where she sees the potential for significant growth.
“Time trialling is all about aero gains, testing and working and practicing in that position so it’s really simply about dedication,” she said.
— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) September 9, 2020
“It’s really a process I haven’t started at the moment, I’ve not done aero testing, my position is guesswork and because of that I know I probably have a lot to gain.
“I know I have the power, I know I have the mental strength to be one of the very best. I really believe I do, and I believe I have a lot more to gain physiologically over the years as well having only recently started racing professionally.”
Though the weekend’s road races will involve significant climbing, the 31.7km time-trial route is largely flat. Banks and Alice Barnes will race for Great Britain in both events, with Lizzie Deignan, Hannah Barnes, Anna Henderson and Anna Shackley also in the squad for Saturday’s road race.
The worlds were relocated at short notice after the Aigle-Martigny region in Switzerland announced only last month it could not host the event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
👏 When the 2020 @UCI_cycling Road World Championships calls, Emilia-Romagna responds! Many cycling fans this morning along our roads!
— Imola – Emilia-Romagna 2020 (@Imola_Er2020) September 20, 2020
Imola has stepped in with a series of routes designed around the famous motor racing circuit. The late shift is just one of the many changes the pandemic has forced on this season, changes which have created some unpredictability over what may happen this week.
Chloe Dygert will defend the rainbow bands in the time trial after her storming success in Yorkshire 12 months ago, but the American is unsure of her form having not raced at all on the road this year.
“It is going to be interesting to find out if it is possible to win a worlds when it is the first race of the season,” Dygert said.
“I’m grateful to be given the chance to race again. It is a great honour to wear the world champion’s jersey and I would love to be able to keep it for another year.”