African Continental Championships Eritrea, Day 5, 13 November 2011


African Continental Championships road race podium

Today I won gold and Cherise Taylor took silver in the African Continental Championships road race held
in Asmara, Eritrea earlier this morning. This is my first time representing South Africa at the continental
championships and I’m very happy to be bringing the African title home! Team mate Jo van de Winkel
narrowly missed bronze, when she was outsprinted by Aurelie Halbwachs from Mauritius.

Today’s race was a great example of team work. South Africa started racing aggressively from the gun
and it just so happened that my attack was the first to stick. I was shortly joined by team mate Cherise
Taylor and once we realised that Jo van de Winkel was not going to be able to join us, we started
working together to extend our lead.

Once both Cherise and I had gotten away, the racing back in the bunch became very negative. Aurelie
Halbwachs and the Eritrean girls marked Jo very closely and made it impossible for her to getaway
and stay away! This is very unfortunate as it would have been nice to have seen all three of us South
African’s on the podium, but none the less, Jo rode a great race and as a team, we are very happy with
the results!



Team South Africa sharing a moment with the Eritrean national women’s team

The African Continental Championships are very important for us as a nation. The UCI points won at the
road race today and the time trial on Friday help to boost South Africa’s ranking internationally. They
also help to boost our personal world rankings, which are important for Olympic qualification.

The London Olympics 2012 is a big goal for the South African women’s team. The more riders we can
qualify, the better! Currently South Africa is in a position to qualify two riders and we are working very
hard at qualifying a third before 31 May 2012.



The crowds lining the streets for today’s road race

Eritrea did an excellent job of hosting the Continental Championships! Both the time trial and the road
race were very well organised and controlled. We had full road closure for the entire race which took
place on a lap around the Eritrean capital city of Asmara this morning.

The support from the locals was also amazing! The streets were lined with thousands of passionate local
cycling fans shouting FORZA, FORZA, FORZA the entire day! What a wonderful experience. Something I
will remember for the rest of my life! It is really hard to explain the vibe we experienced today!

Tomorrow we will enjoy a sightseeing day in Eritrea.

24 thoughts on “African Continental Championships Eritrea, Day 5, 13 November 2011

  1. yohan

    First of all i would like to congratulate u…. u played very cool today and u really amazed me so go on keep it up and i hope u will succeed in ur coming games and of course in LONDON 2012 so … thanks for ur coming to eritrea and if u need any help we are here go on … if u can stay in touch …… GO GO GO GO SA SA SA

    And since Reinard is also such an amazing player tell him also i am a big fan of him and would like to contact him …… go on SA SA SA SA

    Natnael Berhane’s best friend yohan


  2. Eyassu

    Thank you for the wonderful report on the championship. I extend my congratulations to you and your team.
    I am Proud of my country and my people for doing a great job in hosting this competition. As the people in side the country, so many eritrean from outside the country follow cycling eagerly. Cycling is our culture, cycling is in our blood.
    so thank you very much for your wonderful reports.
    i wish you success in your future comptetion. Good luck on the olympics games.
    Have a wonderful stay in our beautiful city Asmara and i hope you will have some time to see other cities in Eritrea.


  3. Alex

    It’s nice to know that you are enjoying your stay in your other country, ERITREA. I would also like to congratulate you for the success & sports spirit which you have showed during throughout your stay.

    I hope you will enjoy what’s left from your stay in the country. In fact, you can stay here forever…we would love to have you here in between us forever 🙂

    You’ve been in ERITREA for almost a week now. So you are not guests anymore…you are Eritreans now 🙂 Enjoy!!!

    Oh & by the way, please pass on my greetings to your good colleagues & to the entire South African people.


  4. amare

    i watched the road race. your performance was superb. i liked the way u competed. i was happy to see u smiling at the spectators when a crowd of Eritrean women were chanting and ululating when you and your team mate were passing.

    hope u will be a world champion representing africa.

    amare from asmara, eritrea


  5. Feven

    Dear Ashleigh,

    Congratulations!! to you your teammates and South Africa for clinching the womens ACC championship. Excellent performance throughout the competition.

    I enjoyed reading and anticipating your updates. You have made a big fan out of me and thousands of Eritreans worldwide. Eritrea is indeed a wonderful place and glad to hear that the athletes received good care & fanfare. FORZA AFRICA!!


  6. Daniel.T

    That was fantastic. we eritreans were following the event from all over ther world.I cant stop watching the Joy of Eri PPl in Asmara (last day) there was tens of thausends on the street of asmara. Thank SA. Thank you for all participants it was a great event for our ppl. I wish you all the best in the fiture. We are going to miss you all participant atlets. we love you all.
    PS: I hope you injoyed asmara.


  7. Dawit Z


    I was in Johannesburg few weeks ago; a lovely city and people. The food, was great, especially the sea foods I had at different places.
    One problem, and I found this hard to believe, was that almost every place is closed by 6PM because of security issue.
    So, Ashleigh don’t forget to enjoy the evening walk in Asmara and write about your safety related experience please.


    New Jersey, USA


  8. Tesfai Abraham


    Ashleigh Moolman Pasio for gold and Cherise Taylor for silver in the African Continental Championships road race held in Asmara, Eritrea.
    I am sure this can recur in London Olympics 2012 by the South African women’s team and by the South African man’s team also.
    Hope you, team mates and cycling staff will enjoy the rest of your stay in beautiful and safe Asmara, it’s pleasant people and leadership.


    Tesfai Abraham
    Berkeley CA


  9. Berhane A Kbrom

    I was just there in Harenet Avenue when you won the medal and would like to say congatulation.
    Ten years back, I was in South Africa – Stellenbosch University. One day when I saw a cycling computation was going on around, as a cycling fun from ERITREA, I stand in the finish line alone and only alone as a spectator. At the time, I remember one of the organizers approached me to ask if I really appreciate cycling. When I say “yes” he gave me a sarcastic smile. Inside my heard I also gave him a cynical smile as I knew he was running a cycling competition without having a single fun except me.


  10. Ghirmay

    Hi Ashleigh and Team S. Africa, congrats on your fantastic win. It is wonderfull to read that you enjoyed the race and the host country. We (Eritreans) are very pround of all of you, our young African athlets, I am sure our continent will be represented well at the internationa area. Good Luck in 2012.


  11. Mike


    congratulations on your win. Eritrea is a very peaceful country with hard working people who are very welcoming. I hope you enjoyed your stay. I hope you would come visit for a vacation and you will even really enjoy it more.



  12. isaac ghebreiesus

    Well done & congratulation on your win.
    I am glag that you have an oportunity to also experience the honest Eritraen hospitality and the true enthusiastic sport suppport.
    As my people say FORZA, FORZA and wish you for several wins in the future.
    Enjoy Eritrea and its beautiful kind people 🙂


  13. Aubrey Vermaak

    Hi Ashleigh,
    Big congratulations on your and Cherise’s medals.We were watching you girls sprint around Asmara.Unfortunatley we could not reach the finishing line due to all the joyfull local spectators.I am feeling very proud here in Asmara,everybody who knows me keep on congratulate ME for our country’s good results.Let me explain,i am working for Coca Cola and are frequently here and around East Africa.All the locals know me as Mr.Coke.!!!I am also going home coming weekend and will return next year.Hope you guys enjoyed the Eritrean hospitality,peace and goodwill-Something i miss when NOT here.

    Once again-ongratulations and best regards

    Aubrey Vermaak.


  14. Teferi

    I want to congratulate you and your team mates for your outstading race in Asmara. Keep up the great work and make us proud on the upcoming olympic.

    Teferi (Los Angeles, CA)


  15. Shumbash

    Hi Ashleigh,

    First of all I would like to congratulate you the African Champion. Secondly I would like to say well done Report over the Organisation of teh Championship and the
    support of the People of Eritrea. As you saw it yourself the Eritreans are always
    Gast friendly and hardworking people.
    At last I hope your remembrance of Eritrea and Eritreans will last long and wish all the best for your Olympic riding next year. Not to forget I am an Eritrean living in Germany and I followed the Champiomship through the Eritrean TV.

    Shumbash (Germany)


  16. Suli

    First I cong. ur victory I hope u enjoy our city Asmara, the city that owned nicknames “The charming city” ” the city of angles” “the city of cycling”and soon.Ashliegh u forgot one thing in ur article u only mention the support from the locals was amazing thanku for ur comment but u forgot the number of the locals who were shouting FORZA it was not happen in any cycling history so why do u give ur testemomy to be recorded in the geans book of record.
    once again i wish all the best in ur future cycling hitory.
    best regards
    from Asmara
    the city of angles


  17. Mansour N

    Congratulations Ashlei and all the South African riders!
    As an Asmarino, ( Asmara-resident), I have watched the continental championships held in my country, Eritrea. The South Africa female riders, thanks to their experience, has shown us skills that their Eritrean counterpart would draw lessons.
    On male competitors, the Eritreans riders lead by the African champion Daniel, showed great competitiveness and finally earned Gold and silver medals. Thus Eritrea kept its last year African championship.
    Ashlei, on my behalf, I would like to congratulate you and family members the South African national team. I can’t wait to see you in a great position in due time.


  18. Micheal

    Thanks Ashleigh for posting this. I am Eritrean, and Eritrea is a beautiful country I really appreciate it and congratulations for winning.


  19. Emanuel

    First and formost, congratualations for team South Africa. I am glad you enjoyed your stay in Asmara.
    Above all, thank you for sharing your positive experience of “Eritrea and its culture” with all your funs around the world.
    This means a lot for Eritreans.


    Virginia, U.S.A


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