The South African rider has postponed her retirement to spend at least one more year in the women’s peloton. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio has been unveiled by AG-NXTG as joining her new Elite team in 2023. The 36-year-old has signed for a year and will leave the SD Worx team. She originally declared her intention to retire during the SD Worx season-opening event on Youtube and has also cited that she feels it may be time for her to start a family. There were little hints here and there from June 2022 onwards though that she might be reconsidering retirement.
Her new team, AG Insurance-NXTG have applied for the Women’s WorldTour in 2023, although it looks unlikely they will be approved. At the moment Ceratizit-WNT are too far ahead in the points table. I got into more detail about Women’s WorldTour promotion (and future relegation) here.
An interview with Rouleur heading into the Tour de France Femmes saw Moolman-Pasio say that she was the best she has ever been in her career, thanks to e-sports largely and wanted to see how much more she could achieve. She was the E-Sports World Champion in December 2020, and racing online through the pandemic seemed to help her find a new lease on cycling and unlock some more potential.
“I was pretty sure that I would stop after this season. It was announced, but slowly but surely the idea of going ahead started playing in my head. I’ve had one of my best seasons yet and even at 36 I’m still making annual progress. My level is higher than it has ever been, so here we are.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue, but when Natascha and I talked, I immediately felt a connection. The choice was made. We share the same values when it comes to cycling, but we are especially passionate about this sport and the development of women’s cycling.
I love to share and talk. Cycling isn’t just about riding hard. There is much more, such as nutrition, mental health and recovery. Living like a pro is something you can learn and I can’t wait to share my life experience with the team.”Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio
Moolman-Pasio has finished in the top ten in the Giro d’Italia Donne seven times in her career, with second place in 2018 and 2021 as the best result. In 2017 she also won the Tour of the Basque Country for women, by staying ahead of Annemiek van Vleuten. This spring she finished third in Strade Bianche, fourth in both Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège and seventh in the Amstel Gold Race. In the Tour de France Femmes, she ultimately had to abandon a good position with an illness.
Moolman-Pasio turned pro with Lotto Belisol in 2011 and then also rode for the Norwegian Hitec Products, the Swiss Cervélo-Bigla and the Dutch teams CCC-Liv and therefore SD Worx. Now she is adding a new Dutch chapter with AG Insurance-NXTG.