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Tour de Romandie victory confirms ‘correct decision’ on retirement for Ashleigh Moolman Pasio

South African already looking to big goals in 2023 with new team AG Insurance-NXTG.

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Winning the inaugural Tour de Romandie Féminin confirmed that it was the “correct decision” to not retire at the close of 2022, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (SD Worx) explained on Sunday after sealing her overall victory in Geneva.

After initially announcing her intention to retire at the close of 2022, Moolman Pasio went back on her plans in the summer, confirming in August that she would continue racing.

“It’s a great way to finish the season,” she said of the win. “I was going to retire, at the beginning of the year I announced my retirement, but I already decided in May to continue. And so this is really good confirmation that my decision was the correct decision.”

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Winning a stage and the overall of the inaugural Tour de Romandie Féminin could have seen the 36-year-old bow out on a high, her first WorldTour win in her final race. But instead, she explained, the result will spur her on over the winter.

“To finish on a high like this, to have such a great victory yesterday on a mountaintop finish, it gives me a lot of confidence in the off-season to work really hard and to have an even better year next year.”

The win was perhaps made even sweeter by virtue of beating newly-crowned world champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), who has dominated the stage races and mountaintop finishes this season.

Tour de France ambitions

Just minutes after taking her first-ever WorldTour stage race victory, the South African was already looking ahead to 2023, where she will race with AG Insurance-NXTG.

Despite being in the latter stages of her 13-year career, Moolman Pasio’s ambitions certainly aren’t waning, planning to take aim at some of the biggest races on the calendar next season.

“The Tour de France Femmes is really a big goal for me next year, but of course a good spring classics campaign too. I haven’t set all my goals yet, but for sure the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will be a big goal,” she said.

“And I will come back to Romandie I’m sure to defend my title, so I look forward to next year.”

Moolman Pasio may already be looking at the new season with her new teammates, but she was also full of praise for her SD Worx teammates in her final race with the Dutch outfit.

“My SD Worx teammates were really strong today, so they really made me feel calm and relaxed, because I could really trust that they had everything under control,” she said. “They were always around me, they were making the pace at the right time, so I actually had a really good day today. Not an easy day but a good day. I felt confident with my teammates around me.”