Emma Pooley clinched the overall classification at the Giro del Trentino stage race in Italy – a result that will make her the favourite to end Nicole Cooke’s reign as British national road race champion on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Cervélo Test Team rider sealed her seventh major win of the season on Sunday, which also makes her Britain’s most successful rider on the road this year.

Pooley was in a commanding position after breaking away on the first stage on Friday to win by more than two minutes.

She then defended her position over the weekend. Eleonora Patuzzo, the Italian rider with the Safi Pasta Zara team won the third stage.

Britain’s Sharon Laws, Pooley’s Cervélo team-mate, was eighth on the final stage and finished ninth overall. Pooley also won the mountains jersey.

Pooley said: “It went really well today. We kept the jersey, the team worked hard and rode very aggressively and we were able to make some attacks. It was wet and cold and the team really held it together to achieve another great result.”

Last month Pooley won the Tour de l’Aude stage race in France and in April she took the Flèche Wallonne World Cup race.

On Sunday, she will line up with her two Cervélo team-mates, Laws and Lizzie Armitstead, at the National Championships in Lancashire.

Cooke has won for each of the past nine years and is looking for her 11th senior national road title in all. But Pooley is the rider on form and, on a course that may favour her climbing ability, she is the pre-race favourite.

Pooley won the silver medal in 2008 in Yorkshire and bronze in Wales last year. Will she get gold this time?

MAJOR WINS BY BRITISH RIDERS ON THE ROAD IN 2010
1. Emma Pooley – 7 wins
Flèche Wallonne
GP Suisse
GP Elsy Jacobs
stage win, Tour de l’Aude
overall, Tour de l’Aude
stage win, Giro del Trentino
overall, Giro del Trentino

2. Mark Cavendish – 3 wins
stage win, Tour of Catalonia
stage win, Tour of Romandy
stage win, Tour of California

2. David Millar – 3 wins
stage win, Criterium International
stage win, Three Days of De Panne
overall, Three Days of De Panne

4. Ben Swift – 2 wins
stage win, Tour of Picardie
overall, Tour of Picardie

Russell Downing, Bradley Wiggins, Lizzie Armitstead and Nicole Cooke each have one road win this season.

RELATED LINKS
British national road race champions: Roll of honour
2010 National road race championship start lists