Pooley dominates in Plouay

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.

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Full results
1Emma Pooley (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam3:18:39
2Marianne Vos (Ned) DSB Bank - LTO0:02:30
3Emma Johansson (Swe) Red Sun Cycling TeamRow 2 - Cell 2
4Grace Verbeke (Bel) Lotto-Belisol LadiesteamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Ruth Corset (Aus) Australia National TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Nicole Cooke (GBr) Great Britain National Team0:02:33
7Martine Bras (Ned) Selle Italia GhezziRow 6 - Cell 2
8Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Safi -Pasta Zara TitanediRow 7 - Cell 2
9Diana Ziliute (Ltu) Safi -Pasta Zara TitanediRow 8 - Cell 2
10Irene Van Den Broek (Ned) Netherlands National TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel (Ned) Team FlexpointRow 10 - Cell 2
12Ludivine Henrion (Bel) Red Sun Cycling TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13Andrea Bosman (Ned) Netherlands National TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Iris Slappendel (Ned) Team FlexpointRow 13 - Cell 2
15Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Team FlexpointRow 14 - Cell 2
16Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Australia National TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Paulina Brzezna (Pol) Red Sun Cycling TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Catherine Hare Willianson (GBr) FenixsRow 17 - Cell 2
19Trixi Worrack (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger VersicherungRow 18 - Cell 2
20Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Lotto-Belisol LadiesteamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Vicki Whitelaw (Aus) Australia National TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Giuseppina Grassi Herrera (Mex) Selle Italia GhezziRow 21 - Cell 2
23Katie Colclough (GBr) Great Britain National TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Siobhan Dervan (Irl) FenixsRow 23 - Cell 2
25Karine Gautard (Fra) Vienne FuturoscopeRow 24 - Cell 2
26Chantal Blaak (Ned) Netherlands National TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Regina Bruins (Ned) Cervélo TestTeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Luisa Tamanini (Ita) Selle Italia GhezziRow 27 - Cell 2
29Kimberly Anderson (USA) Team Columbia-HTC WomenRow 28 - Cell 2
30Tina Liebig (Ger) DSB Bank - LTORow 29 - Cell 2
31Ana Garcia Antequera (Spa) Bizkaia - DurangoRow 30 - Cell 2
32Inga Cilvinaite (Ltu) Safi -Pasta Zara TitanediRow 31 - Cell 2
33Nicole Brändli (Swi) Bigla Cycling TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Noemi Cantele (Ita) Bigla Cycling TeamRow 33 - Cell 2
35Sharon Laws (GBr) Great Britain National TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Selle Italia GhezziRow 35 - Cell 2
37Eva Lutz (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger VersicherungRow 36 - Cell 2
38Karin Aune (Swe) Fenixs0:04:05
39Adrie Visser (Ned) DSB Bank - LTO0:06:38
40Shara Gillow (Aus) Australia National TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Claudia Hausler (Ger) Cervélo TestTeamRow 40 - Cell 2
HDLucinda Brand (Ned) Netherlands National Team0:11:21
HDLuise Keller (Ger) Team Columbia-HTC Women0:13:35
HDChantal Beltman (Ned) Team Columbia-HTC WomenRow 43 - Cell 2
HDEleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Team Columbia-HTC WomenRow 44 - Cell 2
HDSuzanne De Goede (Ned) Equipe Nürnberger VersicherungRow 45 - Cell 2
HDLieselot Decroix (Bel) Cervélo TestTeamRow 46 - Cell 2
HDPatricia Schwager (Swi) Cervélo TestTeamRow 47 - Cell 2
HDLiesbet De Vocht (Bel) DSB Bank - LTORow 48 - Cell 2
HDNoortje Tabak (Ned) DSB Bank - LTORow 49 - Cell 2
HDMarieke Van Wanroij (Ned) DSB Bank - LTORow 50 - Cell 2
HDJennifer Hohl (Swi) Bigla Cycling TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
HDEne Iturriaga Echevarria Mazaga (Spa) Safi -Pasta Zara TitanediRow 52 - Cell 2
HDCatherine Delfosse (Bel) Lotto-Belisol LadiesteamRow 53 - Cell 2
HDEmma Silversides (GBr) Lotto-Belisol LadiesteamRow 54 - Cell 2
HDAmélie Rivat (Fra) France National TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
HDFanny Riberot (Fra) France National TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
HDChristelle Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) France National TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
HDLucy Martin (GBr) Great Britain National TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
HDBéatrice Thomas (Fra) ESGL 93 - GSD GestionRow 59 - Cell 2
HDEugénie Mermillod (Fra) ESGL 93 - GSD GestionRow 60 - Cell 2
HDChristine Majerus (Lux) ESGL 93 - GSD GestionRow 61 - Cell 2
HDEmilie Aubry (Swi) Cervélo TestTeam0:18:41
HDModesta Vzesniauskaite (Ltu) Bigla Cycling TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
HDMonica Holler (Swe) Bigla Cycling TeamRow 64 - Cell 2
HDVeronica Andreasson (Swe) Bigla Cycling TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
HDTrine Schmidt (Den) Team FlexpointRow 66 - Cell 2
HDLatoya Brulee (Bel) Red Sun Cycling TeamRow 67 - Cell 2
HDLaure Werner (Bel) Red Sun Cycling TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
HDPascale Jeuland (Fra) Vienne FuturoscopeRow 69 - Cell 2
HDMélani Bravard (Fra) France National TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
HDHannah Mayho (GBr) Great Britain National TeamRow 71 - Cell 2
HDSophie Creux (Fra) ESGL 93 - GSD GestionRow 72 - Cell 2
HDMelodie Lesueur (Fra) ESGL 93 - GSD GestionRow 73 - Cell 2
HDMoriah Macgregor (Can) Canada National TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
HDAriadna Tudel Cuberes (And) Bizkaia - DurangoRow 75 - Cell 2
HDCristina Alcalde Huertanos (Spa) Bizkaia - DurangoRow 76 - Cell 2
HDMireia Epelde Bikendi (Spa) Bizkaia - DurangoRow 77 - Cell 2
HDCatrine Josefsson (Swe) Bizkaia - DurangoRow 78 - Cell 2
HDLeticia Gil Parra (Spa) Spain National TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
HDRosario Rodriguez Gomez (Spa) Spain National TeamRow 80 - Cell 2
DNFSilvia Valsecchi (Ita) Selle Italia GhezziRow 81 - Cell 2
DNFKatherine Bates (Aus) Team Columbia-HTC WomenRow 82 - Cell 2
DNFEmilia Fahlin (Swe) Team Columbia-HTC WomenRow 83 - Cell 2
DNFMarlen Johrend (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger VersicherungRow 84 - Cell 2
DNFRomy Kasper (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger VersicherungRow 85 - Cell 2
DNFMadeleine Sandig (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger VersicherungRow 86 - Cell 2
DNFMascha Pijnenborg (Ned) Red Sun Cycling TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
DNFSveltana Pauliukaite (Ltu) Safi -Pasta Zara TitanediRow 88 - Cell 2
DNFRochelle Gilmore (Aus) Lotto-Belisol LadiesteamRow 89 - Cell 2
DNFEmma Mackie (Aus) Lotto-Belisol LadiesteamRow 90 - Cell 2
DNFSvetlana Bubnenkova (Rus) FenixsRow 91 - Cell 2
DNFSuzie Godart (Lux) FenixsRow 92 - Cell 2
DNFUrte Juodvalkyte (Ltu) FenixsRow 93 - Cell 2
DNFAudrey Cordon (Fra) Vienne FuturoscopeRow 94 - Cell 2
DNFNathalie Jeuland (Fra) Vienne FuturoscopeRow 95 - Cell 2
DNFEmmanuelle Merlot (Fra) Vienne FuturoscopeRow 96 - Cell 2
DNFMagali Mocquery (Fra) Vienne FuturoscopeRow 97 - Cell 2
DNFEmilie Blanquefort (Fra) France National TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
DNFAlexandra Rannou (Fra) France National TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
DNFAlexis Rhodes (Aus) Australia National TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
DNFKirsty Broun (Aus) Australia National TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
DNFAudrey Lemieux (Can) ESGL 93 - GSD GestionRow 102 - Cell 2
DNFJulie Beveridge (Can) Canada National TeamRow 103 - Cell 2
DNFAlison Testroete (Can) Canada National TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
DNFJoelle Numainville (Can) Canada National TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
DNFLea Guloien (Can) Canada National TeamRow 106 - Cell 2
DNFGema Pascual Torrecilla (Spa) Bizkaia - DurangoRow 107 - Cell 2
DNFIrène San Sebastian Lasa (Spa) Spain National TeamRow 108 - Cell 2
DNFDebora Galvez Lopez (Spa) Spain National TeamRow 109 - Cell 2
DNFBelen Lopez Morales (Spa) Spain National TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
DNFAne Santesteban Gonzalez (Spa) Spain National TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
DNSGiorgia Bronzini (Ita) Safi -Pasta Zara TitanediRow 112 - Cell 2
DNSNikki Harris (GBr) Great Britain National TeamRow 113 - Cell 2

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