Lepistö and Moolman-Pasio prepare for 2017 in South Africa
When Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio crashed during Chrono des Nations, Lotta Lepistö – despite completing the race on the podium – wasn’t interested in the result and wanted to get to the hospital as soon as possible. It speaks of the bond the two team leaders have. Moolman-Pasio leads the climbing group while Lepistö leads the sprints.
Moolman-Pasio has surprised doctors by making a speedy recovery. Her recovery allowed the two riders to train together in South Africa and put a happier end to the year, one that weeks ago seemed it would end with disappointment.
So what has it been like training with Lotta after how your season ended?
Ash: It was really cool having Lotta here in South Africa and being able to have the opportunity show her around and show off our country. I really believe we live in a beautiful country so I am proud to show it around to foreigners and especially friends.
It was great taking her on scenic rides and showing her the places we love to go and the restaurants we love to eat at. It’s funny because she flew here to do Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge with the team in my place after I got injured. It’s a blessing to have healed so quickly from my fracture and now I am in the position to ride with her and enjoy our time together.
Is it good team building?
Ash: It’s always good to spend quality time together as teammates. Lotta and I are very good friends and it adds to our strengths as team leaders to be able to be good friends and understand each other and appreciate each other, understanding our weaknesses and our strengths. It’s great spending good quality time together. It’s one of the benefits we have at Cervélo Bigla, we are a family and we all get on very well and care for one another and just appreciate one another.
Any funny stories from the trip?
Ash: We live on the lagoon in Knysna and my husband Carl and I took her out on the boat on a fishing trip. Carl caught a fish and as he reeled it out of the water, the fish swung and slapped Lotta in the head. We had some yelling and screaming going on but all fun and games.
What were your impressions of South Africa?
Lotta: The day starts early and training is early in the morning so that was my first impression of South Africa but I definitely love Knysna where Ashleigh and Carl live. It’s calm and a holiday destination so it’s amazing for training. After training, you come back to the lagoon and ocean. It’s great recovery after training.
It was really nice to see Ashleigh back on the bike. She really is impressive. After the big injury, she is back on the bike and going strong. It’s nice to be there and plan for next year and discuss goals and missions for 2017.
It was a good holiday for me with long rides and that’s the thing I really enjoy. In Finland, the weather is very bad right now and there was a lot of sun in South Africa. It was good for me to get some sunshine after two weeks in Finland.