Pooley dominates in Plouay

Vos takes World Cup lead from Johansson

Emma Pooley (Cervélo TestTeam) won her second World Cup round of 2009 in her trademark solo style after escaping the clutches of the other favourites just after halfway through the 114.6-kilometre race. The Olympic time trial silver medallist once again displayed the climbing prowess and strength that earned her that second place in Beijing last summer - as well as the Montreal World Cup in May this year - to finish two and a half minutes clear of a chasing group that contained most of the day's favourites.

Pooley and teammate Claudia Hausler took turns attacking in response to the first serious escape from Karine Gautard (Vienne Futuroscope) on the hilly section on the fourth of six laps of the 19.1-kilometre circuit, leading to a group of 14 riders pulling clear. This group included most of the big favourites for victory, but notably not World Champion Nicole Cooke (Great Britain). Pooley looked to have successfully escaped with 2005 and 2007 winner Noemi Cantele (Bigla Cycling Team), but Marianne Vos (DSB Bank-Nederland Bloeit) bridged across, bringing the rest of the break with her.

As the peloton reeled in the 14-rider break, Pooley put in her most devastating attack and the rest of the riders failed to respond.

"It was just to make an attack stick," she told Cyclingnews. "Actually the others [in my team] are really strong, too. I was a bit surprised because I've only done little races since the Giro and I didn't think I was very fit, but sometimes a bit of freshness is good - so I guess I ate enough pasta last night!"

Behind Pooley, the Cervélo team made a good job of marking and neutralising any attempted chase, most notably Hausler and Regina Bruins - who'd crashed on lap one - and the Englishwoman was able to build up a lead that reached 54 seconds as she crossed the line with two laps to go.

Wind tests Pooley on final lap

Despite work from the Australian and Great Britain teams, Pooley managed to extend her lead to more than a minute and a half by mid lap, which was still over a minute as she took the bell. It was only when Cooke attacked on the early hills of the final lap that her lead look to be threatened.

"I didn't have the [blackboard man] very often but I had it in my radio that she was down to 45 seconds," said Pooley, "and that was a bit nerve-wracking because there was still a long way, and it's not easy, that main road with the wind."

As Cooke piled on the pressure, the gap came down to below 40 seconds, but with the World Champion measuring her efforts this was to be as close as anyone was to get. Cooke was joined by Vos, World Cup leader Emma Johansson (Red Sun), Grace Verbeke (Lotto-Belisol) and Ruth Corset (Australia). The five riders worked well together but Pooley looked to be threatened more by the Breton conditions than the riders behind her as successive exposed parts of the course threatened to slow her down.

"That hill - on the main road - it's not very steep," she said, "but boy does it drag! It was so windy; it adds an extra 5 percent to the gradient, that wind!"

Coming into the final few kilometres Pooley kept the pressure on but the group behind her had begun to watch each other and her lead began to extend to over 2 minutes. Nevertheless, she refused to believe that she would win until she actually crossed the line.

"It was really hard," she said, "and I honestly didn't think I'd make it to the finish, I thought they'd catch me with about 300 [metres to go] and be just utterly gutted...but I'm quite pleased obviously!"

Behind Pooley, Vos was riding a very strong race but was unable to overcome the powerful Cervélo team. "I think it's always hard here," she told Cyclingnews, "and Cervélo attacked, and it was a good attack. It was hard today, but it was a nice race.

"[It was] not only Cervélo, but from the start it was hard and Emma [Pooley] was really good today. I think on the third time she went, she got away..."

"It was hard today," said Johansson, "and - I don't know - it was quite weird racing: there were a lot of attacks, and it was hard the whole race. On the second to last lap I had a flat and I had to change my wheel - Paulina [Brzezna], my teammate, gave me her front wheel - and I was back quite fast, but you always use a little bit too much energy on stuff like that."

Vos and Johansson duel for World Cup lead

Approaching the finish, the Swede was under no illusions as to her chances against the fast sprinting Dutchwoman and decided that smart tactics would be the best course; it was to no avail though as Vos proved the stronger.

"I worked until we had a gap and then I just sat on the wheels," she explained, "that's my only chance to beat her [Vos] but she was just too fast in the sprint, I couldn't do anything."

Waiting for the sprint seemed to be her only option though, as she was put off by the blustery conditions. "It was very windy," she said, "and I thought in the end 'should I attack?' and I didn't feel that I had really, really strong legs either. Because of the wind in the end - it was coming from the side, a little bit form the front - it wasn't really optimal. You've really got to be strong to go it alone and I didn't feel that was possible. The finish was really windy."

The five riders arrived at the finish with Johansson sitting on Vos' wheel, but the Swede was not strong enough to come around and that's the way they stayed across the line. Cooke found herself unable to sprint due to a rear puncture, and Martine Bras (Selle Italia Ghezzi) led the peloton home just behind her.

Vos and Johansson seemed to be shadowing each other today in their two-way battle for the overall World Cup jersey. Despite this, both riders denied that they had been doing so deliberately.

"I think it just comes because you...okay, the jersey is not that important, but then it's important in the end," said Johansson. "When it comes to when I see Marianne go, of course to let her go is not on my list, and I think she feels the same. That's the way it is, it comes naturally because we're the only ones fighting for the jersey."

"No, it was not [deliberate]," said Vos. "I just tried to focus on her wheel. When she's in front I want to be in front too."

With her second place, though, Vos takes over the World Cup lead from Johansson with just next month's Nürnberg round remaining.

"Maybe I'll have to try to defend it!" Vos said.

Full results
1Emma Pooley (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam3:18:39 
2Marianne Vos (Ned) DSB Bank - LTO0:02:30 
3Emma Johansson (Swe) Red Sun Cycling Team  
4Grace Verbeke (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Ladiesteam  
5Ruth Corset (Aus) Australia National Team  
6Nicole Cooke (GBr) Great Britain National Team0:02:33 
7Martine Bras (Ned) Selle Italia Ghezzi  
8Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Safi -Pasta Zara Titanedi  
9Diana Ziliute (Ltu) Safi -Pasta Zara Titanedi  
10Irene Van Den Broek (Ned) Netherlands National Team  
11Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel (Ned) Team Flexpoint  
12Ludivine Henrion (Bel) Red Sun Cycling Team  
13Andrea Bosman (Ned) Netherlands National Team  
14Iris Slappendel (Ned) Team Flexpoint  
15Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Team Flexpoint  
16Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Australia National Team  
17Paulina Brzezna (Pol) Red Sun Cycling Team  
18Catherine Hare Willianson (GBr) Fenixs  
19Trixi Worrack (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung  
20Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Lotto-Belisol Ladiesteam  
21Vicki Whitelaw (Aus) Australia National Team  
22Giuseppina Grassi Herrera (Mex) Selle Italia Ghezzi  
23Katie Colclough (GBr) Great Britain National Team  
24Siobhan Dervan (Irl) Fenixs  
25Karine Gautard (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope  
26Chantal Blaak (Ned) Netherlands National Team  
27Regina Bruins (Ned) Cervélo TestTeam  
28Luisa Tamanini (Ita) Selle Italia Ghezzi  
29Kimberly Anderson (USA) Team Columbia-HTC Women  
30Tina Liebig (Ger) DSB Bank - LTO  
31Ana Garcia Antequera (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
32Inga Cilvinaite (Ltu) Safi -Pasta Zara Titanedi  
33Nicole Brändli (Swi) Bigla Cycling Team  
34Noemi Cantele (Ita) Bigla Cycling Team  
35Sharon Laws (GBr) Great Britain National Team  
36Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Selle Italia Ghezzi  
37Eva Lutz (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung  
38Karin Aune (Swe) Fenixs0:04:05 
39Adrie Visser (Ned) DSB Bank - LTO0:06:38 
40Shara Gillow (Aus) Australia National Team  
41Claudia Hausler (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam  
HDLucinda Brand (Ned) Netherlands National Team0:11:21 
HDLuise Keller (Ger) Team Columbia-HTC Women0:13:35 
HDChantal Beltman (Ned) Team Columbia-HTC Women  
HDEleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Team Columbia-HTC Women  
HDSuzanne De Goede (Ned) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung  
HDLieselot Decroix (Bel) Cervélo TestTeam  
HDPatricia Schwager (Swi) Cervélo TestTeam  
HDLiesbet De Vocht (Bel) DSB Bank - LTO  
HDNoortje Tabak (Ned) DSB Bank - LTO  
HDMarieke Van Wanroij (Ned) DSB Bank - LTO  
HDJennifer Hohl (Swi) Bigla Cycling Team  
HDEne Iturriaga Echevarria Mazaga (Spa) Safi -Pasta Zara Titanedi  
HDCatherine Delfosse (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Ladiesteam  
HDEmma Silversides (GBr) Lotto-Belisol Ladiesteam  
HDAmélie Rivat (Fra) France National Team  
HDFanny Riberot (Fra) France National Team  
HDChristelle Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) France National Team  
HDLucy Martin (GBr) Great Britain National Team  
HDBéatrice Thomas (Fra) ESGL 93 - GSD Gestion  
HDEugénie Mermillod (Fra) ESGL 93 - GSD Gestion  
HDChristine Majerus (Lux) ESGL 93 - GSD Gestion  
HDEmilie Aubry (Swi) Cervélo TestTeam0:18:41 
HDModesta Vzesniauskaite (Ltu) Bigla Cycling Team  
HDMonica Holler (Swe) Bigla Cycling Team  
HDVeronica Andreasson (Swe) Bigla Cycling Team  
HDTrine Schmidt (Den) Team Flexpoint  
HDLatoya Brulee (Bel) Red Sun Cycling Team  
HDLaure Werner (Bel) Red Sun Cycling Team  
HDPascale Jeuland (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope  
HDMélani Bravard (Fra) France National Team  
HDHannah Mayho (GBr) Great Britain National Team  
HDSophie Creux (Fra) ESGL 93 - GSD Gestion  
HDMelodie Lesueur (Fra) ESGL 93 - GSD Gestion  
HDMoriah Macgregor (Can) Canada National Team  
HDAriadna Tudel Cuberes (And) Bizkaia - Durango  
HDCristina Alcalde Huertanos (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
HDMireia Epelde Bikendi (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
HDCatrine Josefsson (Swe) Bizkaia - Durango  
HDLeticia Gil Parra (Spa) Spain National Team  
HDRosario Rodriguez Gomez (Spa) Spain National Team  
DNFSilvia Valsecchi (Ita) Selle Italia Ghezzi  
DNFKatherine Bates (Aus) Team Columbia-HTC Women  
DNFEmilia Fahlin (Swe) Team Columbia-HTC Women  
DNFMarlen Johrend (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung  
DNFRomy Kasper (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung  
DNFMadeleine Sandig (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung  
DNFMascha Pijnenborg (Ned) Red Sun Cycling Team  
DNFSveltana Pauliukaite (Ltu) Safi -Pasta Zara Titanedi  
DNFRochelle Gilmore (Aus) Lotto-Belisol Ladiesteam  
DNFEmma Mackie (Aus) Lotto-Belisol Ladiesteam  
DNFSvetlana Bubnenkova (Rus) Fenixs  
DNFSuzie Godart (Lux) Fenixs  
DNFUrte Juodvalkyte (Ltu) Fenixs  
DNFAudrey Cordon (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope  
DNFNathalie Jeuland (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope  
DNFEmmanuelle Merlot (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope  
DNFMagali Mocquery (Fra) Vienne Futuroscope  
DNFEmilie Blanquefort (Fra) France National Team  
DNFAlexandra Rannou (Fra) France National Team  
DNFAlexis Rhodes (Aus) Australia National Team  
DNFKirsty Broun (Aus) Australia National Team  
DNFAudrey Lemieux (Can) ESGL 93 - GSD Gestion  
DNFJulie Beveridge (Can) Canada National Team  
DNFAlison Testroete (Can) Canada National Team  
DNFJoelle Numainville (Can) Canada National Team  
DNFLea Guloien (Can) Canada National Team  
DNFGema Pascual Torrecilla (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
DNFIrène San Sebastian Lasa (Spa) Spain National Team  
DNFDebora Galvez Lopez (Spa) Spain National Team  
DNFBelen Lopez Morales (Spa) Spain National Team  
DNFAne Santesteban Gonzalez (Spa) Spain National Team  
DNSGiorgia Bronzini (Ita) Safi -Pasta Zara Titanedi  
DNSNikki Harris (GBr) Great Britain National Team  

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