Ashleigh Eighth in Amstel

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio sprinted to an eighth place in the Amstel Gold Race. In wet and cold weather, the only Dutch one-day WorldTour classic became a race of attrition. As always, Ashleigh praised her teammates for their work and saw how Justine Ghekiere, Ally Wollaston, Maaike Boogaard, Gaia Masetti and Marthe Goossens really showed how they could step up.

“Today the team took another big step in the right direction. It was nice to see Maaike back after her illness,” Ashleigh explained. “She might not have her full form back yet, but she played an important role getting me in a good position for the Kruisberg. Marthe covered moves and was with me at the right time. She thought she had bad legs, but it turned out to be a flat tyre. Sadly, she couldn’t finish the race but she learned some very valuable lessons during her first real Spring classics campaign.”

“Gaia had a really formidable race and made her way deep into the final. Our New Zealand rocket did an amazing job. She kept dropping and coming back. She did everything to help me position, especially in the run-up to the Cauberg. Justine had a puncture at a bad moment, but she kept it together and waited for assistance. It was a stressful situation. She was up there right to the end.”

Justine finished in 22nd place at 28 seconds from race winner Demi Vollering. Ally was 47th at over four minutes back. Gaia finished in 62nd place and Maaike concluded her first race after being away for a while in 85th place. Ashleigh was eighth, the fourth time she has finished in the top ten of the Amstel Gold Race.

“I am really happy with how I rode. I knew I had to race disciplined. In Brabantse Pijl, I did way too much. Today I wanted to race smarter and save myself for the final time up the Cauberg. The tactics in the final didn’t play into our favour. I also maybe should have opened the sprint earlier racing for second place. It was a long and cold race, so I wasn’t sure if my legs would make it for a long sprint. But I got good signs for Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. We can take a lot of confidence from today.”

For Ally Wollaston, her journey of discovery in the Spring classics continued with her first Amstel Gold Race.

“My race was a real rollercoaster,” the New Zealand champion said. “We knew we had a really good chance today of a good result with Ash and Justine, so I was really determined to do everything I could to help them. I suffered early in the race in the climbs leading into the local lap and pretty much suffered from that point onwards. It’s a brutal course and not very forgiving, so once you start suffering, you don’t have a lot of chances to recover. I tried to start the climbs in a good position with the intention of purely surviving so I could help the team in the flatter sections and in the lead out to Cauberg. Ash and Justine did a great job of finishing off the race and the rest of the team rode amazing. We were a real unit today and supported each other.”

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