South African road cycling ace, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio has been making waves abroad once again, and is confident that her unfortunate start to the season is a thing of the past when she recently repeated her success of last year by winning the three-stage Auensteiner Radsporttage in Germany on 11 and 12 June.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist finished solo to win the final stage and claimed the overall race victory. “It was such an incredible feeling to come across the line solo,” she added about her one minute and 39 second win, her first UCI triumph of the season.
“I’m quite exhausted at the moment. I think the travel takes it out of you greatly, and then of course it’s also the mental demands of racing, which also is draining,” she said.
She then flew directly to Britain to take part in the next stage race on the Bigla Pro Cycling Team’s race calendar, which was the Aviva Women’s Tour from 15-19 June. Moolman-Pasio finished second in the overall standings after the five-day stage race.
“It’s always been a goal to start off the season consistently, but its no secret that I have had a tough start to mine, with illness and crashes,” she said.
Knowing that she knew her bike, form, and mentality ahead of the season were all in the right place, Moolman-Pasio mentioned that the numbers (her wattage and performance output) were all there, but so was bad luck. “One always has this vision that in an Olympic year, everything has to run perfectly according to plan. I have had to learn not to allow adversity and set backs to get to me, but it hasn’t been easy,” she said.
A firm believer in there being a reason for everything, the ever-positive Moolman-Pasio now feels proof of that. “After the adversity and setbacks I’ve been through, it has all made me stronger. I’ve come out more confident, and hungry, and it shows. This has been the second really successful block of racing for me,” she said.
30-year-old Moolman-Pasio had also travelled to Rio earlier this year, where she had the opportunity to test out both the 2016 Olympic Games Time Trial and Road Race courses. “Both courses suited me so well and the vibe and energy there was incredible, and I just gained such momentum being there,” she said.
“I’m using this time to test out different racing styles and to experiment a little, and have been racing more aggressively,” she said.
The next race for Moolman-Pasio, the Internationale Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen, takes place in Germany in July. “I’m feeling much better, and excited, and motivated. My form and my headspace are all coming together perfectly. This couldn’t have come at a better time for me – I’m in a good place after the European spring time and I couldn’t be happier.”