The Star Late Edition
A good year on the road
Moolman-pasio wins big to be standout performer of 2011
WHILE there were some respectable international performances, no one team was able to dominate the South African road cycling scene in 2011, with none of the male elite able to win more than one of the “big three”.
On the women’s side, though, Ashleigh Moolman-pasio took a firm grip of local road races, winning the Amashova Shova Cycle Challenge and the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge.
She also finished second in the Pick ’n Pay Cape Argus and bagged the silver medal at the SA Time Trial Championships.
It was Moolman-pasio’s international performances, however, that caught the eye.
The 25-year-old spent half the year in SA, riding for the Biogen Toyota Ladies Team, and the other half in Varese, Italy, with the Lotto Ladies Team.
She returned from the African Cycling Championships in Eritrea in November after securing gold in the road race and silver in the individual time trial.
In the road race she beat compatriot Cherise Taylor, while the roles were reversed in the time trial with Taylor taking the gold and Moolman-pasio the silver.
Two months earlier Moolman-pasio finished 23rd at the UCI Road World Championships and also placed sixth at the Emakumeen Bira Tour in Spain.
Her most impressive performance, though, was her second-place finish at the Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l’ardeche in France.
The overall winner of that race was Britain’s Emma Pooley, an Olympic silver medallist and the 2010 world time trial champion, while the South African went home with the green jersey as the best climber.
The South African team completely dominated the All Africa Games in Maputo in September, winning 10 medals.
In the men’s road race there was a clean sweep with Nolan Hoffman taking gold ahead of Jay Thomson, Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg and Darren Lill. Van Rensburg and Lill also pocketed gold and silver in the time trial as South Africa won the team event.
On the women’s side, Lise Olivier won gold in the time trial with Lynette Burger taking bronze. Burger, however, hit back with gold in the road race with Olivier bagging the silver.
In the last international campaign of the year, the SA squad returned from the African Cycling Championships with 11 medals.
Domestically, the first of the “big three” road races was dominated by Team Bonitas as Tyler Day defeated teammate and 2010 winner Malcolm Lange in a sprint to the line in the Pick n Pay Cape Argus in March.
In the absence of in-form Arran Brown, who was racing with Team MTN Qhubeka in Australia, Nolan Hoffman of Tasol GT edged Herman Fouche at the Amashova Shova in Durban in October. Brown of MTN Qhubeka won the final of the “big three”, the Momentum 94.7, the following month.
In the mountain biking discipline, Burry Stander won the Absa Cape Epic with Christoph Sauser, while Greg Minnaar finished second overall in the World Cup Downhill Series. – Sapa