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Pooley dominates in Plouay

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World champion Nicole Cooke (Great Britain), right, and French national champion Christelle Ferrier-Bruneau await the start of the GP de Plouay-Bretagne.

World champion Nicole Cooke (Great Britain), right, and French national champion Christelle Ferrier-Bruneau await the start of the GP de Plouay-Bretagne. (Image credit: AFP)
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Emma Pooley wins the GP de Plouay-Bretagne by a commanding margin.

Emma Pooley wins the GP de Plouay-Bretagne by a commanding margin. (Image credit: AFP)
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The GP de Plouay-Bretagne podium: (L-R) Marianne Vos (2nd, DSB Bank - LTO), Emma Pooley (1st, Cervelo TestTeam) and Emma Johansson (3rd, Red Sun Cycling Team)

The GP de Plouay-Bretagne podium: (L-R) Marianne Vos (2nd, DSB Bank - LTO), Emma Pooley (1st, Cervelo TestTeam) and Emma Johansson (3rd, Red Sun Cycling Team) (Image credit: AFP)
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Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) on the podium after winning the ninth round of the Women's World Cup in Plouay, France.

Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) on the podium after winning the ninth round of the Women's World Cup in Plouay, France. (Image credit: AFP)
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Previous winner, Noemi Cantele (Bigla Cycling Team), leads the bunch on the first lap.

Previous winner, Noemi Cantele (Bigla Cycling Team), leads the bunch on the first lap. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) sits in the bunch.

Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) sits in the bunch. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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Eva Lutz (Equipe Nurnberger) and Luise Keller (Team Columbia-HTC) react to an acceleration in the bunch.

Eva Lutz (Equipe Nurnberger) and Luise Keller (Team Columbia-HTC) react to an acceleration in the bunch. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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Nicole Cooke (Great Britain), World and Olympic road race champion, sits on the front of the bunch.

Nicole Cooke (Great Britain), World and Olympic road race champion, sits on the front of the bunch. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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World Cup leader, Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling), in the World Cup leader's jersey.

World Cup leader, Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling), in the World Cup leader's jersey. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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Karine Gautard (Vienne Futuroscope) made a solo attack which woke the race up and was the catalyst for the action which eventually caused the break from which Pooley escaped.

Karine Gautard (Vienne Futuroscope) made a solo attack which woke the race up and was the catalyst for the action which eventually caused the break from which Pooley escaped. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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Ruth Corset (Australia) was fifth, one of her best performances in a World Cup race (in Montreal, 2009, she was fourth).

Ruth Corset (Australia) was fifth, one of her best performances in a World Cup race (in Montreal, 2009, she was fourth). (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) during her solo break, which lasted over 50 kilometres.

Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) during her solo break, which lasted over 50 kilometres. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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Shara Gillow (Australia) leads the bunch which was chasing Pooley.

Shara Gillow (Australia) leads the bunch which was chasing Pooley. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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Joy for Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) as she wins her second World Cup race in 2009.

Joy for Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) as she wins her second World Cup race in 2009. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) leads the sprint, Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling) is on her wheel, with Grace Verbeke (Lotto Belisol) and Ruth Corset (Australia) following.

Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) leads the sprint, Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling) is on her wheel, with Grace Verbeke (Lotto Belisol) and Ruth Corset (Australia) following. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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Vos (DSB Bank) wins the sprint for second ahead of Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling) and thereby re-takes the World Cup series lead.

Vos (DSB Bank) wins the sprint for second ahead of Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling) and thereby re-takes the World Cup series lead. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)
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Marianne Vos (DSB Bank), Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) and Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling) on the podium in Plouay.

Marianne Vos (DSB Bank), Emma Pooley (Cervelo TestTeam) and Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling) on the podium in Plouay. (Image credit: CJ Farquharson)

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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