The British rider could only manage 14th in the women's Olympic time trial, after returning from retirement especially for Rio 2016

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Emma Pooley has spoken after her ride in the women’s Olympic time trial, expressing her disappointment with her result but saying she had to take the opportunity to race.

“I’m disappointed with the result, not just a bit disappointed,” she told the media scrum near the finish line.

American Kristin Armstrong took gold on the 29.9km course in a time of 44-26, finishing just five seconds ahead of Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) for silver. Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) added bronze in the time trial to the gold she got in the road race on Sunday. Pooley was 2-05 down in 14th place.

The British rider has form in the Olympics, having taken silver in Beijing in 2008 and sixth at London 2012. She was also time trial world champion in 2010.

“I think I prepared as well as I could and rode as hard as I could,” she continued. Pooley, along with Nikki Harris, was a domestique for Lizzie Armitstead in the road race, a role that may have taken its toll in the lead up to her ride against the clock.

“If I’d ridden differently on Sunday, saved a bit more… we had a chance in the road race as well so I had to try and help Lizzie there. So that’s just the way it is; the road race comes first,” she explained.

Armitstead could only manage fifth behind winner Anna van der Breggen (the Netherlands), after struggling on the final climb.

When asked if the comeback had been worthwhile, Pooley was philosophical in her reply.

“I think in life you take the opportunities you’re given, and I’m very grateful for them,” she said.

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Present time trial national champion Hayley Simmonds is in blistering form and eyebrows were raised when she was not selected for Rio, particularly after Pooley was fourth at the nationals.

Simmonds was not happy with British Cycling’s handling of her omission.

“It’s still right to take the opportunities that you have and do the best you can with them, and if things had worked out differently,” Pooley continued.

“You know, you don’t know whether the difference between a medal or not is a tiny thing or a big thing.

“I have to be happy with the decision I made and the preparation I made. I don’t think there was anything glaringly wrong with it, it’s just the result.”