Moolman Claims SA’s Highest Road Cycling Accolade in Sprint Finish

It was another cracker day of entertaining road cycle racing in Nelspruit yesterday for the women’s road race on the third day of the Mpumalanga Sport Council 2012 SA National Road Cycling and Time Trial Championships.

In what boiled down to an exciting sprint finish after 110 km of racing on a course consisting of 2-laps, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Momentum Toyota) claimed gold and the SA Champion jersey, with Lise Olivier (bizhub-FCF) second and Joanna Van De Winkel (Momentum Toyota) third in the Elite Women’s category.

Olivier, Van de Winkel and Moolman got away from the group early within the first 15km, on the first climb out of Nelspruit. “The early gap is not something I was expecting,” said Moolman.  “But it all panned out well in the end. We worked well together.  Jo and I tried to attack to drop Lise, but there was a strong headwind and it would’ve made it difficult for one rider to get away on her own.”

Moolman knew that she was racing in a group consisting of the strongest riders of the field, and was confident that she would be able to take the win in a sprint finish if it came down to that. “Jo was very strong today, and was amazing support,” continued Moolman. “Coming into the sprint at the end of the race, Lise launched early, but I managed to time it right and I got it. It was an important win for the Momentum Toyota team. We are four very strong girls and it is great to have a national title for the team.”

Moolman is over the moon with her new SA Champion jersey: “This is a big year for me, with some big goals! I leave for Europe on the 16th March and will be proudly wearing my green and gold stripes.

“I would like to extend huge thanks to the support of my team – Dave (Pieterse), Roy (Gershow) and all the girls in the team have been really great!” Moolman said.

In the junior women’s race it was Heidi Dalton who donned the national jersey when she put a huge gap between herself and her chasers, finishing the 60km race in 01:58:15, almost 7-minutes ahead of second place Terri-Jo Leyland, whilst Andri Coetzee rounded out the podium.

The new Student category crowned a new Women’s champion when Ashleigh Blackwell made a small break from her challengers Leandra Du Toit (second) and Danielle Dalton (third), finishing the 110km race in 03:35:39.

“Conditions were perfect today,” said event organiser Hendrik Wagenaar. “The weather is still holding, and there were no crashes or any problems on the route. It has been a very good day of racing.”

Today, the SA Elite Men’s Champion will be crowned in Nelspruit.  SA and international cycling stars such as Robbie Hunter and John Lee Augustyn will be part of the line up whilst defending champion Darren Lill will be a force to be reckoned with.

RESULTS – Mpumalanga Sport Council 2012 SA National Road Cycling and Time Trial Championships – Saturday – 03 March 2012

Elite Ladies

  1. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Momentum Toyota) 03:20:44
  2. Lise Olivier (bizhub-FCF) 03:20:44
  3. Joanna Van De Winkel (Momentum Toyota) 03:20:44

Junior Women

  1. Heidi Dalton 01:58:15
  2. Terri-Jo Leyland 02:05:08
  3. Andri Coetzee 02:05:08

Elite Women – Student

  1. Ashleigh Blackwell 03:35:39
  2. Leandri Du Toit 03:36:59
  3. Danielle Dalton 03:36:59