Briton Emma Pooley took home the overall classification in the Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale on Sunday after putting in a successful solo effort to claim the lead the previous day. The Cervelo TestTeam put in a strong performance to place two riders on the final podium with Christiane Soeder claiming second ahead of former world champion Marianne Vos.
The final stage was won by Vos in a sprint between five riders. Soeder, the leader of the race after stage two, was second while another teammate, Regina Bruins, rolled in for fourth with Pooley on her wheel.
"With the first climb of the day starting early in the stage at the 3 km mark, we gave it full power right from the start because we wanted to make the race hard right from the opening gun," said directeur sportif Manel Lacambra.
"On the top of the mountain we had a group of five girls; Emma Pooley, Christiane Soeder, Regina Bruins, Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) and Maja Wloszczowska (Polish National Team). Vos tried to attack on the downhill but our girls controlled the race and chased her back.
"The second mountain was very hard, with an average 15% gradient. But again we controlled the race and especially Vos right until the finish line. We knew that Vos was the fastest and today she took the stage, but we worked hard and Christiane earned second place and the Green Jersey. We've ended this tour with a great result, first and second in the overall, 3 stage wins, the Green Jersey and the Team Classification."
"I'm very happy," said Emma Pooley. "It was a hard day, probably the hardest stage of the race because the team had to work to defend the Yellow Jersey.
"The Grande Boucle is a really special race with a big history and I'm very happy to win it. Christiane and Regina were also really strong and could have won this race, but I am really happy with their support and really proud to be member of this team. My next goal will be the National Championships next weekend and after that the Giro d'Italia. I am looking forward to it."
Pooley, winner of the first stage of the race, rolled back into the overall lead with a commanding performance on the penultimate stage on Saturday, where she attacked with 5km to go and soloed to the win.