It’s the end of January. The first month of the season, Team SD Worx’s first month. We look back on this first month with Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. One of the newcomers this season. How did she experience the first training camp in Denia, Spain with her new team?
“My first impression is very positive” responds the spontaneous South African. “The first days were super professional. The possibility to perform various aerodynamics tests on the cycling track in Valencia under the guidance of Specialized was something new for me. I’ve never had that with the previous teams I rode for. ”
During the training camp, Moolman-Pasio has no big personal goals, except for some long training sessions and getting to know her teammates. “I felt very welcome in the team, and the location was perfect for good team building. We cooked together in the team house, with Shara Gillow giving the riders nutritional advice and preparing food during the races and training camps, and had a lot of fun. There was a good balance between the ‘feeling of home’ and serious business ”.
With this serious business Moolman-Pasio means the long training sessions that the riders make who, literally and figuratively, sometimes fall into the water because of the rain. “It was a challenge at times, but it’s like a race. Sometimes things don’t go as planned or hoped, and that’s a bit frustrating at times.”
She is 35 years young, but that certainly does not stop her from spending time with the youngest riders in the team, such as Niamh Fisher Black, Lonneke Uneken and Demi Vollering. On the contrary, it motivates her to teach the younger girls in the team something, especially the mental aspect. Why? “It’s very interesting and the result is significant.”
She also hopes to learn a lot within Team SD Worx over the next two years. From sports manager Danny Stam, but also from the other experienced riders. She shared a room with Anna van der Breggen for ten days. “She is an exceptional athlete, if only because of her humanity. She is so humble and helpful. We had so many conversations where she shared valuable information and taught me what I could have done differently during the races ”.
“It has always been clear from the outside that Danny has a good way of working with such a strong team. I saw the girls working for each other and that ensures that everyone is willing to help me too! ”, Moolman-Pasio is already looking ahead to her first races in the Team SD Worx jersey.
Photo credit: Getty Sport