Liege-Bastogne-Liege: Moolman-Pasio shines again
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio continued her comeback from injury with an impressive sixth place in the first ever women’s Liege Bastogne Liege on Sunday. With a top 10 in every Ardennes classic, the result today tops off a successful comeback from a hip fracture for the team leader.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig played a great supporting role, finishing tenth and extending her lead in the youth classification of the UCI Women’s WorldTour. Anna van der Breggen won the race ahead of teammate Elizabeth Deignan and Kasia Niewiadoma.
“I do feel like I have taken progressive steps with every race. Every race just went better than the rest,” Moolman-Pasio said.
“The big objective for me was to make it into the breakaway today, into the 4 or 5 that always seems to get away. With the two Boels riders there - Lizzie and Anna - it does make things really hard. There was a point of hesitation because on the second last climb, Kasia, Anna and myself actually got away. Lizzie managed to rejoin at the top and in the moment Kasia and I hesitated and that’s when Anna took the opportunity and got away.”
“Overall I am happy with how things are progressing, it’s getting better every race. It’s amazing to ride with this team. The level of commitment to each other and to the team goal is so inspiring. We started Amstel Gold with bad luck and not being in a great position and every race since then we have taken a step up. It’s great to see our younger climbers getting closer and closer to being in the final.”
The result today ends a highly successful spring campaign for the team. Victories included Dwaars door Vlaanderen, Gent Wevelgem and Setmana Ciclista Valenciana with more podiums in Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Healthy Ageing Tour. Lisa Klein won the best young rider competition in Healthy Ageing Tour while Uttrup Ludwig has held the lead in the UCI WWT youth classification since the first race, Strade Bianche.
“I’m very happy with the overall performance,” team manager, Thomas Campana said after the race. “There was definitely a response to all our attacks on Wednesday. The good thing is that more and more teams were trying to attack in the first hour. There wasn’t much recovery time so it was really a hard race.”
He continued, “The team doesn’t have success because of one or two people. We have success because of the whole group. We can’t complain about our spring campaign. It wasn’t a big objective for us coming into the season. The main goal was to get the new group settled and to get everyone working together as a unit. The success we’ve achieved is a sign of a team committed to working together for one goal.”
The team continues racing from 28 – 30 April in Festival Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg. The roster will be released in the coming days.