Emma Pooley?s victory in the GP Montreal was the well-earned reward for one of the most difficult feats in road cycling, leading a race from start to finish alone. She tells Cycling Weekly how she managed it.
Attacking so early in a World Cup race as tough as Montreal, with 11 ascents of the Mont Real climb to come , did not seem likely to succeed. But Britain’s Pooley says her move was part of a bigger race strategy for Cervélo.
?It was a pre-planned move,? the 2008 Olympic silver time trial medallist said, ?although of couse it wasn?t certain the solo move would stick it was part of the bigger plan.?
?I wouldn?t be crazy enough to risk the wrath of our DS [directeur sportif] by doing something like that if it wasn?t planned!?
After recent completing the Tour de L?Aude, one of cycling?s most gruelling stage races, Pooley says she was still not quite in top condition when she took part in Montreal.
?I wasn?t sure how well I would have recovered. We raced hard in l?Aude and it?s the longest stage race I?ve done – last year I didn?t finish.?
?It was hard to know what to expect. I knew it would be positive for my fitness long-term, but the only question was when I would feel the benefits. I don?t think I?m fully recovered yet.?
Having got away alone so early, Pooley says she knew that it was possible, if very improbable, she would stay away alone.
?I knew there was a chance, even if only very slight. But I wouldn?t have minded riders coming across so long as they were the right ones.?
?In any case, I don?t they were just sitting around twiddling their thumbs behind.
?There was a group of three chasing me right from the first lap and when they were brought back I think that?s when the teams started chasing more concertedly.
Pooley kept going, with her lead rising to over four minutes. She finally crossed the line 74 seconds ahead of Emma Johansson of Sweden. She had, she said earlier, only believed in her win would be possible when she was 200 metres from the line.
But Pooley managed it – and took what is arguably her most spectacular victory to date in the process.