With the last of the Spring Classics now upon us, the AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step team doesn’t slow down. On the contrary. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio continued her streak on the Mur de Huy with a sixth place finish. It was the tenth time she had finished in the top ten of the Flèche Wallonne. Justine Ghekiere also finished inside the top 20 with a 19th place.
Anya Louw, Gaia Masetti, Maaike Boogaard and Mireia Benito joined Justine and Ashleigh for the 8.35am start of the Flèche Wallonne, a race supported by the team’s lead sponsor AG Insurance, which gave the riders extra motivation to perform well.
Ashleigh raced a really aggressive race trying to force a move the penultimate time up the Mur de Huy instead of waiting for the last time. Annemiek van Vleuten and Kasia Niewiadoma were with her. The move didn’t make it though and it was ultimately a gamble that cost her.
“I felt really strong,” Moolman Pasio said. “I believe I was the strongest today, but unfortunately the effort we put in to get away the second last time up the Mur cost us in the final. The podium finishers weren’t in that breakaway, so it shows that it cost us. The team took another big step today! Everyone rode their hearts out and soon it will be rewarded with a podium or a win for the team!”
Justine Ghekiere finished in 19th place and was a very important rider for the team in a breakaway. It was stressful to get there.
“I was happy I could do my job to be in the breakaway to take the pressure of the team. It was a bit stressful getting in a move. I really had to get in there so I was happy I made it. It was a great race and I heard my name so often on the side of the road. That made it extra special to race here in Belgium today.”
Anya, Gaia and Mireia all executed their jobs perfectly and finished the race but sadly Maaike crashed out. She shows symptoms of a mild concussion and will have to rest and recover in the coming days.
The team continues with the final of the Spring Classics season in Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday with Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Justine Ghekiere, Anya Louw, Gaia Masetti, Mireia Benito and Ally Wollaston.