South African champion Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Emma Johansson and Sofie De Vuyst on the Le Samyn podium
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Aggressive race by South African champion
For Hitec Products, the 2014 Le Samyn des Dames proved to a successful day racing as Ashleigh Moolman placed second and Elisa Longo Borghini came in eight but there was no stopping Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) from opening her 2014 win account, overpowering Moolman and Sofie De Vuyst (Futurumshop.nl)
The South African national, and African continental champion was quick to praise the efforts of her teammates despite the "hectic" final five kilometres of the 116km race which was made up of one 27km loop and four tough 21km circuits featuring two short climbs.
"My team did an awesome job from the start. We raced aggressively and were represented in every major break away," Moolman said.
"I tried to keep my cool and go with the flow. As we took the last corner with about 800m to go I suddenly found myself on the front. At this point I felt I had two options. I either sit up and take the risk of someone jumping me, or I sprint early. I took the sprint long and unfortunately I was passed by Emma Johansson just before the line.
"Any one of us could have podiumed today, it just turned out that I was at the right place at the right time entering the uphill sprint. It was really great to finish with five Hitec riders in the front group and two in the top ten."
Team Director Marc Bracke was happy with how the team rode and they prepare for the upcoming 17th edition of the nine race-UCI Women's Road World Cup with the Ronde van Drenthe on 15 March.
"The plan was to be aggressive when we entered the finishing circuits and for every rider to be free to play," Bracke said. "Races like today are excellent preparation for the World Cups and I think we raced as a team today."
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