The Shutter: Flèche Wallonne Photos With Moolman-Pasio & Wei Yuet
Fleche Wallonne took place on Wednesday, 22 April and Bigla Pro Cycling Team delivered a great performance finishing on the podium with Annemiek van Vleuten. To add to the impressive achievement, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio placed fourth in the race despite suffering from pain she sustained due to a crash in training the previous day. It's the fourth year in a row that she finishes in the top 5 of this event. Below, read commentary from Ashleigh with fantastic photography by Wei Yuet. Check out more of his work at https://weiyuet.com/.
We were doing a recon on the last part of the race, there was a lot of gravel on the road and I took a corner too fast and slid out. At the time I tried to keep my cool, my legs were fine but I fell quite hard on my shoulder. I maybe wasn’t completely honest with myself with regards to how much pain I was experiencing but Fleche Wallonne is a race I don’t want to miss.
I gave it everything in the race. I’m really happy with how the team rode. For sure the crash cost me. I think the day after the crash your body especially deals with all the shock but I am happy with how things went.
It’s amazing what the mind can do. I had pain in my shoulder and while I was breathing but I just focused my mind to turn it off. I was completely focused on the race and I wasn’t thinking about the pain even though on the last climb I could feel it for sure. If you are really focused on something else it is amazing what the mind is capable of.
We came into the race with an aggressive race tactic. I think it was a great plan. There was some really good energy in the team leading up to this race. Annemiek has been having some good performances with good confidence so we had an aggressive race plan coming in. Everything worked out perfectly on the day. It was one of those races where the team was just amazing and we just united as a unit.
It was awesome to see riders like Iris who this race wasn’t suited to just come alive and be so strong in this race. The race plan just made her find good legs.
Joëlle has had a tough spring and she came from two weeks at home and making good progress and had a good race. Doris has been sick and Sharon also has come from a hard place but they gave everything for the team.
Annemiek executed the plan as we had discussed. The race changed quite a lot this year so with the second last climb added this year and coming with 5 kilometres to the bottom of the Mur, we thought it would really change things this year. Annemiek is an incredibly strong rider and time trialing is her strength so we wanted to work with the strength of our riders so the plan was for her to attack before the steep climb.
It was amazing to see how the race changed. The riders who were so dominant last year had a different race this year because of the route change. Annemiek did an incredible job and unfortunately Anna van der Breggen was the rider to come across. I gambled a bit when she attacked and expected the other teams to chase but they didn’t and it was always going to be hard to beat her once she got across.
It was an incredible day for the team and we were very happy with second and fourth.