South African Time Trial and Road Cycling Champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio had the race of her life when she won the UCI 1.2 Boels Rental Hills Classic in Valkenburg, The Netherlands on Friday.
The Lotto Belisol Ladies team rider comes off what she terms a “hard race block” having just completed the gruelling Tour du Languedoc-Roussillon. The ’Tour featured 5 back-to-back stages, which took place from Saturday 18 May to Wednesday 22 May (the first stage was cancelled). Ashleigh finished in fourth place.
Straight from there, Moolman-Pasio made her way to Holland for the 120km Boels Rental Hills Classic on Friday 24 May. But this all seemed to work in her favour as the 27-year-old delivered another top performance this season.
“We raced a tough route of 120km including twelve 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,” said Moolman-Pasio.
The course suited Ashleigh 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 5 Rabobank riders, I had to keep my wits about me to ensure I wasn’t caught out,” continues Moolman-Pasio.
On the final 300-metre approach, Ashleigh timed her sprint to perfection, and finished almost a bike length ahead of 2nd 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 having a fantastic season and is forever thankful to her teammates. “We have a great team vibe in Lotto Belisol, which makes all the difference. 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,” she said.
Moolman-Pasio’s next race is the UCI 1.2 race Durango Durango, in Basque region, Spain on 4 June, followed by a 4 day tour Emakumeen Euskal Bira starting 6 June.
Follow Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s cycling updates and progress on www.ashleighcycling.com.