Ashleigh Moolman Pasio rounded off her final spring campaign at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes with yet another top 10 finish, taking fourth place behind SD Worx teammate Demi Vollering.
The South African has been in the mix in all seven races she's taken on over the past two months, taking a podium at Strade Bianche and a fourth place at La Flèche Wallonne along the way.
Moolman Pasio had been active in the final of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes, putting in a move on the penultimate climb, the Côte de La Redoute, before leading the chase behind Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) when the Dutch rider jumped on the final climb, the Côte de Roche-aux-Faucons.
"Today I really tried to channel my inner Zwifter up those climbs and just not give up," Moolman Pasio told Cyclingnews after the race. "That's exactly what I did, but yeah, it wasn't enough."
"I gave absolutely everything to follow Annemiek, but she just had an extra gear over the top [of Roche-aux-Faucons], which I couldn't match unfortunately. Then Demi and I worked really well together to try our best to bring SD Worx back into contention for the win. In the end, we had to settle for third place."
Moolman Pasio led out her teammate for the final sprint, but the duo were pipped to second place by FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope's Grace Brown, who had earlier made a solo move of her own in between La Redoute and the Roche-aux-Faucons.
"I started the sprint a bit early – that was also planned – and then the idea would be that Demi could come over. But in the end, Grace Brown was too fast on the line. And so third and fourth it is for us, but I think we can be really proud of our efforts. We definitely gave our best. We left nothing on the road, and we rode with heart so that's all we can do."
"There were no tactical missteps, we just couldn't follow Van Vleuten," she added. "She's got that extra gear that she just manages to push over the top of the climb. I matched her pretty well on both climbs until just before the top and she just has this ability to push over. I suppose that comes from her time trialling. I did what I could."
Moolman Pasio said that she could be proud of her spring campaign, noting her consistency on the hills of Italy, Limburg and Belgium. Her attention now, after a two-week break and racing at Itzulia Women and the Vuelta a Burgos Féminas in May, will turn to the Women's Tour and the inaugural Tour de France Femmes.
"Two fourth places in Flèche and Liège but I can be proud," she said. "I've had a super consistent spring – only top 10s. That's all I could do in the spring and it's something to be proud of. I leave satisfied and looking forward to what's still upcoming."
"Obviously the tours will be a big goal for me. There's the Women's Tour and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, which is, of course, an incredibly big goal for me because Zwift is a platform that I care a lot for, and really appreciate."
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Daniel Ostanek is Senior News Writer at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired full-time. Prior to joining the team, he had written for numerous major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.
As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also oversees The Leadout newsletter and How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal.