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The Strade Bianche didn’t result in the top result AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step wanted but yet again, the team showed it’s really a team. “We had a plan and we executed the plan but the outcome was not what we hoped. This is the best we could do as a team today and we need to accept that,” summarizes sports director Christian Kos the day where Ashleigh Moolman Pasio was the best finisher in 13th place.

Despite the rain earlier this week in Tuscany the white roads were dusty as ever. Italian rider Gaia Masetti rode the Strade Bianche once before but this experience was a completely different one.

“It was a tough race as expected. I was asked to go in breakaways, which I did. The cooperation in that group was not really good so after a few kilometers we were already caught again. Then we stayed together as a team as much as possible with the fifth, the most important sector, in mind. There were a lot of crashes before that. We all lost each other a bit but never gave up and survived that longest sector together. After that there were many attacks and it was really active. As a team we chased breaks but for the last three sectors I was empty.

However, I am happy with my performance. We raced as a team and I am really proud of them all. It was so great to race in Italy. My parents were here too and that doesn’t happen every race anymore. It was great to get some extra cheers for me and for the team.”



For sports director Christian Kos it was a day of mixed emotions. He had hoped a better result would be possible but is also content with what he saw on the road from the relatively young and inexperienced team.

“We had bad luck with that mechanical with Mireia which cost some energy. She was sorry she couldn’t give more but it’s not necessary to say sorry. Mireia, as the rest of the team, still gave everything for Ashleigh. We had a plan and executed it well. The result wasn’t there today but there will be soon.”

Ashleigh Moolman Pasio came in third last year and therefore the expectations were high. She praises the team work. In the preview she hoped at least one teammate would be by her side after the important sector five. In the end Marthe Goossens, Mireia Benito, Gaia Masetti and Julia Borgström were all still there. It’s that progress that Ashleigh wants to emphasize although her predominant feeling is that of disappointment of not being able to reward the work of the team.

“The girls really rose to the occasion and exceeded the expectations. They covered the moves and were at the front. They were there when I changed bikes because I lost a bit of pressure at the back. It was a good moment and coming back went smoothly thanks to them.

Personally, I am bit frustrated because I couldn’t finish off the teamwork in a better way. I was caught behind a near-crash and that cost me some positions. On the second to last sector I was too far back and it was hard closing that gap. My result didn’t reflect the team performance and the feelings I had in the legs. For me it’s upwards and onwards towards the Ardennes with a stopover at the Tour of Flanders. With the big steps the team is making each race, I’m confident that our great teamwork will soon be rewarded in the Classics”