Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla) capped off her ascension of form to take her first victory of the season at the Auensteiner – Radsporttage this weekend. The South African began the final stage in second place overall, and went for broke, attacking three laps from the finish to push stage 2 winner Annemiek Van Vleuten (Orica-AIS) out of the lead.
After a difficult spring with illness and crashes, Moolman-Pasio believes she is back on track for the upcoming Aviva Women’s Tour and her bid for the Olympic Games in Rio.
“I’m just really happy with the win today,” Moolman-Pasio said. “Yesterday we had a good pep talk from Thomas [Campana, team manager -ed.]. He was happy with our performance but he felt we had so much more to give. He was hard but very inspiring and that showed today. The team gave everything and they executed the team plan to perfection. I definitely couldn’t have done it without my teammates today. I’m really happy to reward them with a win.”
Moolman-Pasio took a risk to attack three laps from the finish, and only one rider, Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM), could follow. The pair were brought back by Orica-AIS, but it was a much reduced peloton that rejoined. When Moolman-Pasio went again it was a solo move, and she made it stick to the tune of 1:39 over chasers Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS), Emma Johnasson (Wiggle-High5) and Brennauer.
It was a nearly identical performance to the one that netted her the overall win there last year.
“After all the hardship I’ve gone through this season, its great to win solo like this. The team plan might have sounded a bit crazy at the start of the day,” she said. “I went full gas from the bottom of the climb and I was on my own. I still had three laps to go and just kept thinking of everyone who believed in me like Thomas and my husband, Carl, who is here.”
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