Published: 28 June 2012
Report: Scott Hobro
Emma Pooley is hoping to play a vital role in Great Britain's medal hopes in both the Olympic road race and time-trial as she continues her preparations at the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile, which begins on Friday.
The AA Drink–leontien.nl rider, who won time-trial silver in Beijing, will be joined by Lizzie Armitstead, Lucy Martin and Nicole Cooke for the nine-stage race. The quartet makes up the final line-up for the Team GB Olympic women’s road cycling team which compete in the road race on the 29 July. Pooley and Armitstead have also been selected for the time-trial.
In addition, British Cycling Podium Programme riders Sharon Laws - fresh from winning the National Road Race Championships last weekend - and Katie Colclough have been named in the start list for the stage-race which lasts until the 7 July.
Pooley, who most recently claimed silver in the time-trial at the 2011 UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, believes her best opportunity for medal success lies in the time-trial on 1 August, but is also prepared to play an important part three days earlier in the road race.
“It’s fantastic to be selected for a home Games,” the 29 year-old said. “The time-trial is a key event for me, that’s not to detract from the road race because I think I can be useful there but I think the time trial is where I am best. Based on the last few worlds, I think that’s why I have been selected there. I definitely feel I have got a chance.
“It’s a bit more complicated in the road race because we ride as a team so it’s not really up to me as to how it’s ridden. It’s all going to be up to team tactics. Due to its layout, it’s likely to come down to a sprint finish which isn’t really my thing. That’s not to say that I can’t provide a useful role for the team though. If I medalled at the road race then that would be great but as a team event, whoever medals, it will be the whole team who does the job.”
The Giro Donne offers one individual time-trial stage for Pooley, a short 7.2km course in Roma on stage 2 on 30 June. In London, the 29km course for the women’s time-trial is relatively flat, starting and finishing at Hampton Court Palace in south-west London. Renowned for her climbing ability, Pooley conceded the route doesn't suit her strengths but has been busy adapting to ensure she goes into the event in prime condition.
“My training involves a lot of specific time-trial stuff,” Pooley said. “You get a lot of fitness from road racing though so my road programme hasn’t been too badly affected. In my blocks between road racing and stage racing I do a lot of specific time trial work.
“It’s quite a flat course, which to be honest, isn’t ideal for me but I’ve been training hard to make improvements there.”
You can follow the progress of Great Britain’s rider in the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile in the Brits Abroad section of the British Cycling website.
Great Britain riders in action at Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile
Emma Pooley (AA Drink - Leontien.nl)
Lizzie Armitstead (AA Drink - Leontien.nl)
Sharon Laws (AA Drink - Leontien.nl)
Lucy Martin (AA Drink - Leontien.nl)
Nicole Cooke (Faren Honda Team)
Katie Colclough (Team Specialized – Lululemon)