28 May 2013
South African time trial and road cycling champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio put together the race of her life when she won the Boels Rental Hills Classic in Valkenburg, the Netherlands on Friday.
The Lotto Belisol Ladies team rider had come what she termed a “hard race block”, having just completed the gruelling Tour du Languedoc-Roussillon. The Tour featured five back-to-back stages, from 18 to 22 May, and Moolman-Pasio claimed fourth place overall.
Straight from there, she made her way to the Netherlands for the 120km Boels Rental Hills Classic, which took place only two days later. Despite the hectic programme, it all worked out as the 27-year-old delivered yet another top performance.
“We raced a tough route of 120 kilometres, including 12 short, steep climbs; it can be compared to the famous elite men’s race, Amstel Gold. It was a hard course and the race was very tough from start to finish,” Moolman-Pasio said afterwards.
The course suited the South African star perfectly and the race progressively split with every climb due to the difficult nature of the route. Towards the end, there was a group of 14 riders by the time they approached the finish line.
“When we got to the famous Cauberg climb, which formed part of the 2012 World Champs course, I was the only Lotto Belisol rider who made the final break and, with five Rabobank riders, I had to keep my wits about me to ensure I wasn’t caught out,” she added.
On the final 300-metre approach, Moolman-Pasio timed her sprint to perfection and finished almost a bike length ahead of second placed Lizzie Armitstead.
“I was overwhelmed with joy. This is my first big win in a UCI one-day race and I really surprised everyone with my speed in the sprint. Until now, I have only been considered a climber in Europe, but on Friday I proved I could sprint as well!”
Moolman-Pasio is enjoying an excellent season and said her team had a lot to do with that. “We have a great team vibe in Lotto Belisol, which makes all the difference,” she said.
“I have made huge progress since last year and I’m really happy with my win in Holland. The support I’m receiving via social media from my fellow South Africans is also heart-warming and much appreciated.”
Moolman-Pasio’s next race is the UCI 1.2 race Durango Durango, in Basque region, Spain on 4 June, followed by a four- day tour, the Emakumeen Euskal Bira starting 6 June.
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