After being forced to end her 2009 season prematurely because of a broken collarbone, Ashleigh Moolman (Biogen Toyota) made a triumphant return to racing on Sunday when she won the Pick n Pay The Star Fast One 103-kilometre road cycling race south of Johannesburg.
The Stellenbosch-based rider confirmed that she’s not just a strong climber when she outsprinted a large lead pack in the popular race, that started at Nasrec and finished at Vanderbijlpark. Cherise Taylor (Nashua) and Carla Swart (MTN Energade) finished second and third respectively.
ÔÇ£It was great to win my first race back,ÔÇØ smiled Moolman. ÔÇ£I was a bit nervous as there was patchy rain, the roads were wet and there were a few potholes. But the pack rode very predictably and we got to the final turn safely.ÔÇØ
There were plenty of attacks in the race, but the absence of a strong wind or any significant ascents ensured that none of the attacks were successful and a 26-rider strong group remained to contest the final, gradual uphill dash for the finish line.
ÔÇ£Our Biogen Toyota team rode quite defensively because we only had four riders in the race, while MTN Energade had nine and Konica Minolta had eight,ÔÇØ explained Moolman. ÔÇ£Because it was quite a long sprint, it suited me perfectly. I sat on Lynette’s (Burger) wheel for a leadout and then timed my kick just right.ÔÇØ
Moolman’s team captain, Lynette Burger, the current South African road champion and also a noted sprinter, snapped a spoke within sight of the finish line, but she’d done enough to give Moolman the perfect springboard from which to launch her winning move.
1 Ashleigh Moolman (SA ÔÇô Biogen Toyota) 2hr 35min 51sec
2 Cherise Taylor (SA ÔÇô Nashua)
3 Carla Swart (US ÔÇô MTN Energade)
4 Susanne Ljungskog (SWE ÔÇô MTN Energade)
5 Sanet Smal (SA)
6 Jeaun-Mari Breytenbach (SA ÔÇô Nashua)
7 Lisa Vermaak (SA)
8 Marissa van der Merwe (SA ÔÇô MTN Energade)
9 Charlotte van der Merwe (SA ÔÇô Nashua)
10 Lizanne Naude (SA ÔÇô Biogen Toyota) all same time