Moolman Pasio wins queen stage of Giro Donne

In her tenth appearance at the Giro Donne, Moolman Pasio finally crossed the line first.

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Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (SD Worx) rode away from Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) on the final climb up Monte Matajur and went on to win stage 9 of the Giro Donne. Longo Borghini was then scooped up by a chasing group of general classification favourites, including Moolman Pasio’s teammates Anna van der Breggen and Demi Vollering.

Vollering and Van der Breggen bested their group to take second and third on the stage, the same podium as the previous mountain stage on Saturday, only in a different order. Van der Breggen remained in the race lead ahead of the final stage on Sunday.

Stage 9 marks the third display of SD Worx dominance in this Giro Done. Van der Breggen and Vollering took the first two spots in the time trial as well, with Moolman Pasio placing fourth behind Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange).

Moolman Pasio’s win on the Queen stage of the race is one that has been a long time coming. The South African has competed in ten editions of the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile, her first was in 2010.

She has finished top ten in the general classification six times. In 2018 she finished second overall behind Annemiek van Vleuten. Over the past 11 years, she has landed herself in the top three of 13 stages, including two in 2021, but has never won a stage of the Giro Donne.

“Wow, it feels so amazing. This is my tenth Giro, and I have never won a stage before! I have only ever finished second. I am also second on the GC, but it is really special to win a stage,” Moolman Pasio said.

Throughout her career, Moolman Pasio has found herself the top rider on various teams, forced into roles of leadership when she was still relatively green, purely because she was the fastest. On the Freewheeling Podcast in January she explained that joining SD Worx was in a way freeing. She would no longer be in charge of making calls on the road while fighting for her own results, instead, she had the top women in the sport telling her what to do.

“Having come from the first training camp and I was rooming with [Van der Breggen] which was a great opportunity to get to know her better,” Moolman Pasio said. “Immediately her willingness to open up, to share information, to give feedback on her impression of me as a rider, for example.”

Moolman Pasio simply said she wanted to win more bike races. That she had made mistakes in the past but could see opportunities to get better.

In response, Van der Breggen told Moolman Pasio that there had been times in the past when they were on different teams and Moolman Pasio would throw down such a strong move Van der Breggen was barely able to hold on, but then Moolman Pasio ease off the gas too soon allowing riders to catch up. Clearly, this and other behind the scenes tips from the world champion are paying off for Moolman Pasio.

With the weight off her shoulders, Moolman Pasio is now coming into the prime of her career. Riding for the top team in women’s cycling she has found her stride, and her Queen stage win at the Giro Donne will not be the last time we see her throw her arms in the air.

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