Moolman Pasio Grabs Double Gold At National Cycling Champs4 Mar 2013
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio gave the Momentum Toyota professional women’s road cycling team the ultimate reward for an early season of hard work when she claimed both gold medals on offer at the 2013 South African Road Cycling Championships in Nelspruit at the weekend.
After racing to a dominant victory in the Elite women’s 33km individual time trial last Thursday, Moolman Pasio claimed the 112km road race title on Saturday, also with show of dominance.
Because the national championships was an official International Cycling Union (UCI) event, Moolman Pasio was compelled to change her allegiance from her South African-based Momentum Toyota team and race for the Belgian-based Lotto Belisol team, the internationally registered team for which she has been signed to race in Europe for most of the year.
“I’m very happy with the time trial title. It’s my first. It wasn’t my best effort but it was good enough to take the win. I prefer shorter, more technical time trials and don’t feel I was adequately prepared for such a long out-and-back course,” said Moolman Pasio.
On Saturday, the 27-year-old Boland region resident wasted no time in the road race, using her superior climbing strength to split the field on the first of two big climbs. Her Lotto Belisol teammate, Sharon Laws, the current British road race champion, was on hand to assist and the pair raced positively throughout, forcing their rivals to adopt a defensive strategy.
“I wanted to defend my road title and with just two of us from our team in the race, I needed to make the first move and use the climb – which came early on – to minimise the number of title challengers,” explained Moolman Pasio.
Only Laws, Lise Olivier and An-Li Kachelhoffer (Best-Med ASG) were able to match Moolman Pasio’s pace on the ascent. After initially assisting with the pacing, Olivier and Kachelhoffer decided they’d have a better shot at the win if the chasing group caught the break and opted to sit on at the back, forcing Laws and Moolman Pasio to pace themselves.
“It’s a very special honour to race in Europe in the South African champion’s jersey and that was my mission today. I wanted this title badly and I’m obviously delighted that I was able to achieve my goal. I have to thank Sharon for her assistance as my teammate. She was completely committed. I’m very motivated to race in Europe now. My form is coming good and my confidence is high.”
Because Laws isn’t a South African citizen, the silver medal went to third-placed finisher, Kachelhoffer with Olivier taking the bronze medal.
Next Sunday, Moolman Pasio and her Momentum Toyota team will attempt to defend the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour title that Moolman Pasio won last year. With over 35 000 participants, it’s the world’s largest cycle race and a highlight event on the South African calendar.
Moolman Pasio, who heads off to begin her European racing season on 20 March.
Photo: Ashleigh Moolman Pasio claimed both national titles – individual time trial and road race – in Nelspruit at the weekend.
Source: Team Momentum Toyota Press Release