Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) returns to racing at the 2020 Giro Rosa after a lengthy recovery from a crash while training at Strade Bianche in August that required 60 stitches to treat her wounds.
Moolman-Pasio is no stranger to comebacks after injury. The 34-year-old has arguably had more than her fair share of injuries during her 10-year career, most notably breaking her hip at the Chrono des Nations in 2016 after which came a three-month recovery process.
After her crash in training before Strade Bianche, where she hit a rut and an unexpected rock in the gravel road, Moolman-Pasio found herself facing another comeback. This time the injuries the South African national champion sustained did not include any broken bones.
Speaking on the eve of the Giro Rosa, her first race since the accident, Moolman-Pasio recalled the details of the unexpected crash.
"The crash before Strade was quite a nasty one, I was lucky not to break any bones but it had it’s complications. The wounds actually healed pretty fast, but the first week was a challenge with [an] infection and I couldn’t ride my bike just to be totally safe, but then after that I got back to training,” she said.
The road to recovery wasn’t entirely smooth, and Moolman-Pasio said she had to take things very slowly.
“I really had to take it slowly because I sprained my SI [sacroiliac] joint in the crash and it’s really taken a lot of time. The SI joint can be pretty stubborn so it created limitations in terms of my training.”
Since the initial period of recovery, however, the CCC-Liv rider says she has managed to build up some form prior to her return to the peloton. "The past two weeks have been pretty good, I’ve had my ups and downs with the pain but I’ve managed to get some good training in. I’m about 95 per cent pain-free at the moment.”
If 95 per cent pain-free translates equally to form, then Moolman-Pasio could be a strong contender in the Giro Rosa, having previously placed second overall in 2018 and fourth in 2019.
“I’m really happy to be here at the Giro. Of course I haven’t had much opportunity to race this year so it’s really great to be back with my team and have the opportunity to race. I’m not really certain what to expect from myself but I do know that I’ve put in the hard work this year so I’m just hoping that day by day I can get into the rhythm of racing,” she said about her expectations.
"Whatever happens I’ll be happy, the intention is to use this race more as preparation for the next part of the season, but of course if it goes well then I’ll be happy and I’ll take my opportunities where I can.”
Luckily for Moolman-Pasio, and for women’s cycling fans, the wait will be short-lived, as the 2020 edition of the Giro Rosa begins on Friday, September 11 at 14:00 CET with a 16.8km team time trial in the town of Grosseto.
Visit Cyclingnews' dedicated women's page for full reports, results, news, features and galleries from the 2020 Giro Rosa.
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