Moolman-Pasio skips South African time trial defense due to illness, Venter claims title
Moolman-Pasio left the Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling’s three-week training camp in Mallorca early so that she could compete in the time trial and road race at the Nationals on February 10 and 13 in Wartburg in KwaZulu-Natal.
Juanita Venter won the elite women’s 24km time trial title in 39:19 ahead of Samantha Sanders and Cashandra Slingerland.
“I decided not to use a disc wheel today and to rather use the 808 because of the climbs. I knew if I could make it up on the climbs and power up the last kilometre then I would have a chance at being on the podium,” Venter said after her victory.
Cycling South African later released a statement that read, “Defending Champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla Pro Cycling) was sorely missed this morning when she withdrew due to falling ill. She is, however, hoping to recover in time for the Road Race on Saturday where she will embark on her title defence.”
De Vuyst returns to Lotto Soudal
Sofie De Vuyst joins eight new riders on the elite women's Lotto Soudal Ladies team. She previously spent seven seasons with the Belgian team from 2005-2007 and from 2009-2012 but spent the last three seasons with Sengers Ladies Cycling Team, Futurumshop.nl-Zannata and Lensworld.eu - Zannata.
“I wanted to join this team again because of several reasons," she said of her reasons for rejoining the team on Lotto Soudal's website. "I especially like the race programme of the team, with many races on different terrains. Also the staff made me decide to come back. In the past I already worked together with Dany Schoonbaert and now also Liesbet De Vocht is part of the staff. I am sure I can benefit a lot from her experience. I already know the Belgian riders and with Anisha Vekemans I went on a training camp in Mallorca in January. It’s extra special that I am in the same team as my partner Bart (De Clercq, LTS). We just have to make sure we mark some of our gear, so we don’t take each other’s helmet or glasses (laughs).”
As a top international racer having podium performances at Le Samyn des Dames, Tour de Bretagne Féminin, and top-6 finishes at Gent-Wevelgem Women Elite and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, she will provide experience to the younger riders on the team. She spoke more about her ambitions for 2016 on the Lotto Soudal website.
“This year I want to focus more on races uphill, I rather ride those type of races than races on a flat course like in Holland. The race calendar of Lotto Soudal perfectly matches my plans. In July I would love to ride the Giro, that would be a unique experience. An even bigger highlight would be a selection for the Olympic Games. I will approach my season the same way as other years, but the Olympics are an extra motivation. I will do everything I can to ride a fantastic season and I really want to show myself in tougher races. I heard that in previous Olympic years the pace in the peloton was higher, I’m curious to see if that will be the case now as well.
“Also the fact that I ride for a new team gives me some extra motivation, but it doesn’t make me more nervous. I always have a healthy dose of nerves before the first race of the season, I always want to perform the best I can. I hope that I’m spared from bad luck that could jeopardize my chance of an Olympic ticket. Together with the team I’ll try to make it an unforgettable year.”
Wiggle High5's Edmondson claims two titles at Australian track championships
Edmondson raced for the South Australian Sports Institute at the Nationals when she won her two titles. In the scratch race, she lapped the field to take her win and had won the points race earlier on. Edmondson will next race at the UCI Track World Championships in London, and he is also taking aim at the Rio Olympics.
“I’m pretty happy with the last weekend of racing at the National Championships,” Edmondson said in a team press release. “I obviously go into races hoping to win, so this was no different. We’re going into the World Championships in a few weeks, so I wanted to make the most of each race; get a bit more racing in the legs and to make some smart race decisions out there and I think I managed to do that.
“We’ve been training pretty hard for the last two months. We had two months of pretty tough training before the New Zealand World Cup, and we came back and have been continuing that. I had a bit of a mixed couple of weeks with the Tour Down Under, and it was nice to feel quite good in the racing. I felt like I had a bit of speed, even though I’ve not really been working on that.
“It’s really positive leading into the World Championships."