South African Road Cycling and Time Trial Champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio saw her cycling dreams become reality last week when she finished in the podium third place position at the La Flèche Wallone Femme one-day UCI World Cup race in Belgium.
Moolman-Pasio, who races for the Belgian-based Lotto Belisol team and is currently based in Europe, is elated with her result and felt quietly confident going into the race. “I don’t like to be too vocal before races, I rather let my legs do the talking. But deep down inside I had a good feeling. Carl (Pasio, Ashleigh’s husband) and I have been training hard together, and leading into the race my power numbers looked very good.
“I also have a great team around me this year, we are a nice group of girls. Going into the race I knew that Carl, my family, my team and my country believed in me, and that’s what made all the difference on the race day!”
South African Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, racing for the Belgian based Lotto Belisol women’s cycling team, achieved a major milestone in her very young professional cycling career when she claimed an ultra close third place podium position at the La Flèche Wallone Femme one-day UCI World Cup race in Belgium on Wednesday 17 April 2013. Photo Credit: Raymond Cox
And make a difference it did. Ashleigh has said that from the first time she set her eyes on the legendary Mur de Huy, the final climb of the race, the climbing ace knew it was the climb for her.
“Starting the race on Wednesday, I was riding for a podium. From the start I believed I could podium or even win, it was just a matter of getting to the base of the Mur out of trouble and in one piece. My team did a great job of ensuring that happened.
“Although I started the race with the objective to finish on the podium, I was confident that I could. The reality was at the moment when I actually reached the base of the Mur de Huy on the wheels of the best in the world (Olympic gold medallist Marianne Vos, Emma Johansson and Elisa Longo Borghini). Suddenly my dreams became a rapid reality! It was a huge moment!”
Besides achieving her first ever UCI World Cup podium, the London Olympian is also optimistic of the potential in women’s cycling in South Africa, dedicating her achievement to all aspiring young cyclists, particularly women cyclists.
As Ashleigh mentioned in her blog post, “My podium position at Flèche Wallonne World Cup represents a milestone for South African and African cycling, and I was happy to stand on the podium a very proud South African and African ambassador.”
Moolman-Pasio will be racing in the three-day tour in Luxembourg this coming weekend – Festival Luxembourgeois du Cyclisme Fèminin Elsy Jacobs. The tour is part of her preparation for the bigger tours that she will be racing later in the year, the biggest of which are the Tour of Spain (Emakumeen Bira Tour) in June, the Giro d’Italia Femminile (Giro Rosa) in July and the Route de France in August.
Read Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s full story and follow her achievements on her blog page: http://www.ashleighcycling.com/