The South African said her achievement – the highest ranking South African cyclist ever – was something special as it cemented her status as one of the world’s best.
Moolman-Pasio said she had had a disappointing 2016 season, which included 10th in the Rio Olympics road race.
“I really wanted to win a medal in Rio and I had the capability to do so but for certain reasons it didn’t happen, so last year was a hard year in terms of lessons learnt from disappointments. I’ve had to come to terms with that and realise I need to embrace what happens around me.”
The 31-year-old said her injury, where she broke her hip last October, had served as a blessing in disguise as it had forced her to take a break that she desperately needed.
“I made a conscious decision to go with the flow, listen to my body and not to force anything,” she said. “Coming into 2017 that’s exactly what I did and I think that’s the reason I am having newfound success this year.”
Moolman-Pasio, who started cycling at the relatively advanced age of 22, said it had been a constant challenge to balance competing in Europe while maintaining a presence on the local circuit.
“It was a full calendar for me to compete at the highest level in Europe and then to go back home and satisfy local sponsors and give back to the local fans who play an important role in making my career a success. After a couple of full-on years, the forced rest played a role in helping me get to where I am today.”
The former national road champion said her next goal would be the number one spot.
“I’m not going to put too much focus on the rankings, as they change weekly. I just want to enjoy the racing and do my best. That may result in a world number one, but it’s not something I’m going to force.”
Moolman-Pasio said it was rewarding to see her hours of work paid dividends.
“I was not aiming for a top ranking this year, except to stay in the top 10, so this was a great surprise. I feel very proud of this as an ambassador for my country.
“It’s great to put South African cycling on the world map and show that we have the potential to challenge at the highest level against the best cyclists in the world.”
She said she felt that while the men were on the right road to the top of the sport internationally, local women’s cycling had a long way to go.
“There are many girls who have the desire and the dream to be competing at my level, but for some reason we’re not getting the women up to that standard.”