Ashleigh Moolman Pasio of AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step won Durango-Durango on Tuesday night. This challenging one-day race in the Basque Country had been on her wish list for a while after five previous top-ten places. Thanks to the team of Mireia Benito, Justine Ghekiere, Lotta Henttala and Gaia Masetti, she finally managed to claim that victory.
Justine finished in fifth place and Mireia won the intermediate sprint competition. The team also won the team classification, displaying the overall strength of AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step as a team.
“I am really happy to win this race,” said Ashleigh. “The team work was just exceptional today. Everyone was fully committed. Mireia, Lotta and Gaia covered all the moves and tried to in the breakaways in the early, local laps. Gaia managed to do so after we left the local laps, so that was an ideal situation. We caught her in the final and then Mireia was amazing and focused. When we hit the penultimate climb, Justine paced the peloton and it became much much smaller. After all their hard work I knew I needed to finish it off.
I hit the final climb all in on the steep part and went solo. I don’t know how, because the gap was quite big, but Ane Santesteban managed to come back but I stayed focused. Jolien encouraged me on the descent via the radio and then she coached me on the sprint. I trusted her advice and believed in myself and finished it off. It’s a great confidence boost going into the Vuelta a Burgos. This also sets the tone for the run-up to the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, where I want to ride for the win.”
The team continues in Spain with the Vuelta a Burgos from Thursday. This coming weekend, the AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step elite team also races Antwerp Port Epic, while the U23 team goes to Veenendaal – Veenendaal and the Omloop der Kempen. The junior women race the Ronde van Vlaanderen, so it will be a busy weekend across all the teams with all eyes on the prizes in each event.