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Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio blog: It's all about bonding in Australia

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv)

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) (Image credit: Getty Images)

It's been nine days since I officially became a CCC-Liv rider!

The excitement of signing with a brand new team has only built over the last few weeks. For the first time in my career, I had a pre-season training camp so, in December, I had an early taste of what was to come: new equipment, new teammates, new management, new race schedule. Contracts only officially roll over on January 1, so after camp I had to wait. I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas, and when 2019 finally arrived, the build-up did not let me down.

A week after the New Year, we all jetted down to Australia for the Women's Tour Down Under. After the million-hour-long flight, we all crashed at the hotel while the time change crashed into us. Thank goodness there's a strong coffee culture in Australia because the next day it felt like I needed a constant supply of caffeine just to keep one eye open. The other eye, thankfully, was being kept open by spending time with teammates, exploring Adelaide by bike, and snuggling baby kangaroos. (Hey, when in Australia, right?!)

I couldn't think of a better way to start with a new team than with a new race. It'll be my first time competing at the Tour Down Under, and since it's also our first race as a team, the goal is just to start learning how to race together over the four-stage event. We're all professionals with a very professional set-up, so everyone knows what they're doing, but there is a sense of unspoken communication in racing – a rapport that just needs to be built on the road in a race.

It's learning how your teammates react to race situations, what each rider's facial expressions mean, and even who likes what in their bottles. In other words, it's all about bonding this week. But, if an opportunity arises, whether that's snuggling a kangaroo or grabbing a podium, you can bet we're going to take it!

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Ashleigh-Moolman-Pasio is a world-class climber and the newest member of CCC-Liv (formerly Waowdeals). She has written a regular blog for Cyclingnews since 2016, touching on topics of gender equality in women’s and men’s professional cycling.

From South Africa, Moolman-Pasio turned professional with Lotto Ladies Team in 2010, spent one season with Hitec Products in 2014 and the last four seasons with Cervelo-Bigla. She made a move to CCC-Liv in 2019 and will race alongside her long-time mentor Marianne Vos.

She’s a versatile rider who was second at Flèche Wallonne, fourth at the Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastonge-Liège, and second behind Annemiek van Vleuten at the Giro Rosa in 2018. This year, look for Moolman-Pasio at the front end of the peloton, and on the podium, during the Spring Classics and at the most mountainous stage races on the Women’s WorldTour.