South African Women’s Cycling celebrity, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, continues to make the country proud of all of her achievements on and off the bike by winning the title of Sportswoman of the Year at the 2015 South African Sport Awards in Mangaung, the Free State on Sunday 22 November.
The Bigla Pro Cycling Team rider went on to dedicate her win to all the men who had played such supportive roles throughout her life and sporting career.
Although having taken the title last year, Moolman-Pasio says that it was very unexpected, especially being amongst such wonderful and talented sportswomen. “To just be nominated is an honour in itself, so to win is an extra bonus and so awesome,” she said. “To be up against such tough competition - it’s incredible to see the strength in women’s sport growing and growing,” she added.
“It really did come as a surprise, and it is a great way to end what has been such a good year for me.”
Having been abroad for the majority of the year, Moolman-Pasio mentioned the warmth and love that she felt on her return. “It was such an unbelievable feeling to be away most of the year but then to come back knowing that you have so many South African supporters, it makes it so special,” she added.
Moolman-Pasio was also nominated for 2015 South African Sport Awards People’s Choice Award, which was won by Wayde van Niekerk, who also took home the Sportsman of the Year Award.
After winning the Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge UCI 1.1 Women’s Race on Sunday 15 November, Moolman-Pasio, moved up to 6th place on the UCI Women’s Individual World Rankings.
“I am just absolutely grateful to be where I am in the rankings. Coming from a challenging 2014, where I over trained, I had no huge expectations coming into 2015. I didn’t expect everything to run so smoothly, it’s just incredible. I think I still need to take some time to let it all soak in.”
The Rankings position will by no means alter Moolman-Pasio’s mind set going into 2016, however, as she highlights the importance of consistency. “Especially because it is an Olympic year, of course I will plan ahead with my major focus being on Rio, but I don’t feel like much will change. I think the biggest goal for me is to just keep producing consistent results. That’s one of the truest tests of an athlete really – to get that consistent performance. So up until the end of May, I will be hoping to do just that,” she said.