Emma Pooley finished her professional cycling career on a high, and she is 14th in our countdown of the best British riders of 2014

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Emma Pooley’s retirement from professional cycling feels premature. Her discontent with aspects of the sport are well documented and well-founded and it is true that if she had the standing in the men’s sport that she has in the women’s sport she would be very handsomely rewarded. But she made sure she bowed out on a high note, finishing the Commonwealth Games with two silver medals.

She returned to top-class racing with the Lotto-Belisol team in the spring, after taking a break, but said: “Don’t call it a comeback.”

Nevertheless it was an impressive return to action when she finished seventh at Flèche Wallonne.

She won the National Championship time trial, which means she retires from road racing as a reigning champion, then headed to the Giro d’Italia, the toughest and most prestigious stage race on the calendar.

In Italy, she won three stages – including the final one at the iconic Madonna del Ghisallo, made famous by the Tour of Lombardy. She also won the mountains title.

At the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, she lost the gold medal in the time trial to New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen by just six seconds. In the road race, she was instrumental in helping to set up Lizzie Armitstead’s victory and even when her England team-mate passed her, she rode on to take the silver medal.

We will be counting down the 20 best British riders of 2014 throughout December, with the top 10 published in the December 18 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine