Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio continued her fine run of form, finishing on the podium in Giro dell'Emilia Internazionale Donne Elite on Saturday. This comes after the South African won two stages and the overall in Giro della Toscana.
It is the second year in a row the South African is runner-up in Giro dell'Emilia.
The result also means Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team has either won or finished on the podium in its last six consecutive races.
Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) won for the second year in a row. Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM) completed the podium.
The profile of the 98km race was pan-flat until the finish approached where the peloton had to negotiate the steep San Luca climb.
“It was pretty flat all day then this monster steep climb at the end. Midway through the race things got a little crazy with the intermediate sprints so our job was just to stay out of trouble,” Moolman-Pasio said.
“The girls did a great job, we ride really well together and ride as a unit. For the majority of the race we’re very visible and together. We did our jobs perfectly to make sure nothing got away and that we were in control at all times.”
After fast lead-outs to the bottom of the climb by several strong teams represented in the race, Moolman-Pasio made her move on the steep part of the climb.
“I wish the steepest part was at the top of the climb but it got more gradual towards the top and goes downhill into the sprint. After I got a gap and was away, Elisa clawed her way back to me and in the end, I didn’t have what it took to finish it off in the sprint. I’m happy with how the legs are this late in the season. It has been a busy year and with all preparation going to world’s, it’s good for us to get a podium here.”
The average speed of the race was 2 kilometres an hour faster than the fastest predicted time according to the race technical guide. Moolman-Pasio says this is a clear sign of the improvements in women’s cycling.
“It’s a testament to how the level has improved drastically over the years. The race was controlled heading to the climb but the pace was high. We had strong teams here, we had good representation from strong riders and it shows women’s cycling is at that level where the pace is automatically high,” she concluded.
The team will stay in Italy tomorrow for Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli Internazionale Donne Elite.