Commonwealth Games 2018

Ashleigh on her way to win Bronze in the Commonwealth Games Road Race in Glasgow

Ashleigh on her way to win Bronze in the Commonwealth Games Road Race in Glasgow

I never thought I would have to give up an opportunity to represent my country at the Commonwealth Games. It is such a privilege to qualify, even more so to be selected to represent your country at a world event. Thinking about the last Commonwealth Games where I won my bronze medal, I get a rush of emotion. Undoubtedly, it was a breakthrough race in my career and getting up on that podium was big moment for me, my family, and everyone who helped get me to the start line. I felt so much pride as a an athlete, as a South African, and a as a woman. 

I will not be competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. For the past few months, I’ve had multiple discussions with my trade team, Cervelo Bigla, and SASCOC and, after exhausting all possible scenarios, we have decided focusing on my goals in Europe is the best path for success.

SASCOC and my team have both been very supportive and patient during the decision making process. We considered how the road race course didn’t suit me, especially against the depth of the big cycling nations such as Great Britain and Australia. We considered just going to compete in time trial but it’s a specialist discipline that needed more preparation time than we had available. We also considered that April is the most important racing for me during the European season. Everyone at Cervelo Bigla, myself included, have been working towards specific goals during the Spring Classics and I would have to abandon my team and my position as lead rider during those key races. Add in the toll of travel, jet lag, and the high personal expenses I would incur and we all knew what the logical conclusion was.

It took a long time to accept that the math just didn’t add up. I knew a while ago in my heart the best thing to do was to miss Commonwealth, but it took a lot longer to make the official decision. In the end, it wasn’t about choosing one over the other; it was about choosing where I could be the most successful, where I could be the best athlete I could be, where I could represent my country in the best possible way. I know not everyone will understand but I hope everyone will respect the decision we have arrived at.