Great Britain?s Emma Pooley (Specialized) is the new leader of the women?s World Cup competition after winning the Trofeo Alfredo Binda race in Italy on Monday with a long-range solo attack.
Pooley attacked with two other riders with 40km to go and when the move was caught, she immediately went again and opened a 16-second gap on the climb of the finishing circuit.
The Fassa Bortolo team lead the chase but Pooley used her excellent time trials skills to extend the gap to 42 seconds. The bunch then eased up but Pooley kept going and she opened a 2-30 on the second of three laps of a hilly finishing circuit.
A more organised chase began with 20km to go but Pooley did not panic and the chasers raced against each other rather than working together to try and catch Pooley. World Champion Marta Bastianelli (Safi) launched a strong attack on the final climb eight kilometres from the finish and she was joined by Kristin Armstrong (USA) and defending champion Nicole Cooke (Halfords-Bikehut). Pooley?s lead began to fall but the three were caught by the bunch and it was far too late for anyone to catch her.
In the final kilometres Pooley faded as the bunch accelerated. The gap fell to 1-36 with three kilometres to go but Pooley made it to the finish to cross the line alone and win the biggest race of her career.
Suzanne De Goede (Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung) beat Diana Ziliute (Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan) in the sprint for second place, ahead of 25 other riders, with Cooke just behind them.
Pooley was stunned to have won a World Cup race but even more surprised to pull on the World Cup leader?s jersey.
She will wear it at the women?s Tour of Flanders on April 6.
Emma Pooley makes her ultimately successful break
Pooley nears the finishing straight with plenty of time to spare
Photos: Davide Ronconi