|Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio celebrated a double victory on Saturday, November 10th at the African Continental Championships in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso. Moolman-Pasio showed her prowess in both the road and individual time trial disciplines winning the sprint from a breakaway in the road race and the time trial by 43 seconds.
Victory wasn't without it's challenges, however, as only five of the 21 bicycles sent arrived with Team South Africa. With flights arriving only every second day, riders were left without equipment and forced to abandon some events. “I had both, my time trial and road bike, so I was one of the fortunate ones,” Moolman-Pasio stated, sounding relieved all over again.
The first of two events was a flat, non-technical 21km individual time trial consisting of two 10.5km laps. The time trial “went smoothly,” Moolman-Pasio says. “It was well organized and there was good support from the locals,” she continued. Moolman-Pasio won the event taking the gold medal by 43 seconds. The second entered South African rider, An-Li Pretorius, took the silver medal.
Two days later, with the entire luggage safely delivered, Moolman-Pasio lined up for the flat 100km road race, which was later shortened to 68km, to defend her 2011 title. As a climbing specialist, flat terrain is “not my thing,” claimed Moolman-Pasio, who was more concerned about the weather conditions. Even though it was winter in Burkina Faso, since it's in the northern hemisphere, according to Moolman-Pasio, “everyday the temperature was over 35 degrees.” On the day of the flat road 100km race that was later shortened to 68km, she recalled, “it was flat, dusty, and hot!”
With three of the eleven girls who participated in the road race representing South Africa, “the plan was for all three of us to breakaway, work together...and then race each other for the title,” says Moolman-Pasio. Moolman-Pasio, along with her two compatriots, Pretorius and Olivier, comprised the winning breakaway and sprinted one another for the victory. “An-Li put up a good fight and it was relatively close. I was happy to take gold,” says Moolman-Pasio. “All credit to Burkina Faso women who didn't make it easy. They were good at covering attacks and they continued to race,” she says. In the end, South Africa dominated the podium and Burkina Faso won 4th, 5th, and 6th.
She isn't all about the win, however, expressing her concern for the development of women's cycling. “It is important for me to see women's cycling grow in South Africa,” she says. She further stresses the importance of African Continental Championships, not just for South Africa, but for African women's cycling as a whole. According to Moolman-Pasio, while certain nations attend annually, notably South Africa and Namibia, lack of funding prevents regular attendance from other nations.
“It's nice to see the effort of the host country get their women ready to race. They have good attitudes and they are determined,” she says, noting especially the positive competitive attitude and commitment of the Burkina Faso women's team. “What's a real shame is not seeing [cycling federations] send their women to more competition,” she says, pointing out the missing Eritrean team of four who competed last year along with a few other missing riders. “It's a shame more work isn't being done to give African women a chance to race.”
As the new African Continental Champion, Moolman-Pasio is now ranked 18th in the UCI WorldTour standings. Heading into 2013 with her current team Lotto-Belisol, she is intent on continuing to improve her world ranking. Specifically, Moolman-Pasio says, she is “striving for a top ten.” In order to “suit that goal,” she explains, her racing calendar will “have a greater focus on world cup races.” Currently training in her native South Africa, Moolman-Pasio will return to Europe for the start of the 2013 season.
Written by Sarah Bonner. Reprinted with permission>
ELITE WOMEN ROAD RACE
(#, Rider Name, Country, Result )
1 Asleigh Moolman (South Africa) 1:59:20|
2 An-Li Pretorius (South Africa)
3 Lise Olivier (South Africa)
4 Adjaratou Nignan (Burkina Faso) 0:05:29
5 Edith Zagre (Burkina Faso) 0:07:28
6 Emilienne Sawadogo (Burkina Faso)
7 Vera Adrian (Namibia) 0:07:37
8 N'guessan Christiane Kouakou (Ivory Coast) 0:10:09
9 N'guessan Annick Kouakou (Ivory Coast) 0:22:24
10 Véronique Kouakou (Ivory Coast) 0:29:39
Visit Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s website, to learn more about her.
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