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Pooley climbs well and avoids falling barriers

Emma Pooley (Great Britain)

Emma Pooley (Great Britain) (Image credit: AFP)

By Shane Stokes in Stuttgart

With Nicole Cooke missing the worlds due to a knee injury, Emma Pooley filled the team leader slot in the elite women's road race on Saturday. She rode prominently on the climbs in the closing stages and finished tenth, but said afterwards that she wasn't really happy.

"I didn't feel like I was having a great race, to be honest. My positioning was not very good and the others were helping me a lot to stay in the right place. If it hadn't been for them, I would have had a very hard time.

"Rachel [Heal], Cath [Catherine Hare] and Lizzie [Elizabeth Armitstead] were great, they were basically bullying me into going to the front. The course was very hard but I wouldn't actually say it was a climber's course - it was more of a descender's course. It was windy, it is hilly, it is technical - it is a nightmare!"

She talked about how the race unfolded, saying that she couldn't snap the elastic and go clear. "There was an Italian up the road and then a Canadian went. I was just trying to sit in and save myself to attack on the last hill, where it was steep. I did that but I didn't get away. I attacked several times in the last couple of laps, but the jumps weren't very effective in that I didn't get away.

"Nobody wanted to chase but they were very good at hanging on. [Because of the efforts] I was just hanging on for the last kilometre but I was lucky that the last part was uphill as I got past a few people there. I was in so much pain in the last few hundred metres."

Pooley had a nervous time in the bunch, going very close to a pileup caused when the wind blew over the roadside banners. "There were so many crashes out there. I was right behind the big crash when the barriers came down. Luckily I wasn't a few places further up the bunch, because I would have been in it.

"What happened seemed a bit harsh, to me. You'd imagine that they would have angled the barriers for the wind or something."

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