JOHANNESBURG - Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Daryl Impey underlined their world-class pedigree by winning the women’s and men’s races of the Telkom 94.7 Cycle Challenge.
Moolman-Pasio wrapped up a stellar season with her fourth Cycle Challenge, while Impey claimed a maiden victory in the iconic road race.
“It was good to stay calm in a race, because that is not my strength,” Moolman-Pasio said. “I like to get things going early on. I tried to stay patient.
"The international teams, HiTec and Canyon, started attacking from early on and made it tough. They got away and I wasn’t in the break, so I had to cover all those attacks.”
Moolman-Pasio beat a quality field in the UCI 1.1 women’s race, launching her attack on the climb on Cedar Road.
She missed out on last year’s race after suffering a hip fracture but bounced back in 2017 becoming the highest ranked South African road cyclist climbing to a career-best third place on the UCI world rankings in June.
Moolman-Pasio rode with a team of top Africans from the World Cycling Centre as her World Tour team, Cervelo-Bigla, did not participate in this year’s race.
“At Cedar Road, I went from the bottom and was pretty happy to come in solo. Staying calm is something I have had to learn in Europe,” Moolman-Pasio said.
“I get too excited and like to attack from early on. I have started being a lot calmer in the World Tour this year, learning to have composure, and waiting for my chance.”
Thanks @Jenni_Green & @TanyaHarford for putting on another world class edition of @947Cycle! Always special to race this race on home soil & even more special to win! Thanks South Africa for all the support 🙇🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/PhtjKHmxZh
She was followed by Norwegian champion Vita Heine in second place, with former German junior champion Christa Riffel rounding off the podium.
“Nobody could follow Ashleigh when she attacked,” said Heine. “Five of us tried to chase her and at the last roundabout I got away from Christa.
"We knew Canyon and Ashleigh were the strongest here, but the African riders were very strong.”
Impey, the first South African to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, followed a similar tactic to Moolman-Pasio, crossing the finish line first at Riversands Commercial Park.
“Finally, it’s like a monkey off my back, everyone talks about the big races in South Africa and I’ve won none of them, so it’s nice to get this one,” said Impey, who rides for Australian-based World Tour team Orica-Scott.
“It was a pretty hard finish; coming into Steyn City is always tough,” said Impey. “I was very surprised to get this one. I started my season earlier because of goals down under. I’ve come here in better shape.”
Calvin Beneke finished second behind Impey after winning a sprint finish against last year’s runner-up Eddie van Heerden.