Sport

High-riding Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio chuffed with Giro stage triumph

High-riding Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio chuffed with Giro stage triumph

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio claimed her maiden stage triumph on the Giro d’Italia Donne on Saturday, taking the toughest leg of the tour after riding the final 8km on her own.

Moolman-Pasio, who is looking to end SA’s 65-year Olympic cycling medal drought at the Tokyo Games later this month, is looking to finish second overall when the tour ends on Sunday.

Moolman-Pasio clocked 3hr 52min 35sec for the 122.6km ninth stage from Feletto-Umberto to Monte Matajur, which contained two late steep climbs, to win by 1min 26sec over her SD Worx teammates Demi Vollering and Anna van der Breggen, who is poised to win the tour.

“It feels just really so amazing to finally win a stage at the Giro after taking part in 10 editions — this is my 10th edition,” said Moolman-Pasio.

“It’s really taken hard work and commitment and a lot of patience but it really has been worth the wait because it feels so amazing.”

Moolman-Pasio, who will compete in the women’s road race and the time trial in Tokyo, was particularly chuffed with the manner in which she won the stage.

“It really was the toughest stage and then to win it with a breakaway with 40km to go and then to go solo for the final 8km, it felt like I really worked for it. It wasn’t just a sprint on the line.”

The 35-year-old was also happy that she was hitting her straps going into the Games. 

“It just couldn’t be more perfect timing. It’s really also a great confidence boost and confirmation that my form is really on point for Tokyo, which will be my last Olympic Games.

“That’s also really quite special because being road cyclists it’s not an easy sport at all, we race a lot. There’s a lot that is out of our control, so to finally feel like I’ve done what I can do to be my best in Tokyo is really quite amazing and just the fact that I’ve managed to time everything so perfectly with form.

“I’m just in really good spirits, really happy, now I just need to finish off the tour, controlled, safe, smooth tomorrow and keep that second place on GC and then off to Tokyo to hopefully make South Africa proud.”

Moolman-Pasio, who competed at London 2012 and Rio 2016, is scheduled to compete in the oad race on July 25 and the time trial on July 28.