CW’s British Riders of 2012: No. 34

Cycling Weekly is revealing the top 50 2012 British Riders of the Year, counting down every day until December 19.

The top 10 will be revealed in Cycling Weekly’s Christmas issue, on sale from Thursday December 20.

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Still brilliant

Emma Pooley was Cycling Weekly’s British rider of the year two years ago and, by her own remarkable standards, 2012 was not a vintage one.

Following the collapse of the women’s Garmin team she joined AA and started the season quietly but efficiently. The feeling was that she’d come to life in the summer in time for the Giro d’Italia and the Olympics. Even though the course in London was pan flat, seemingly not suited to her slight frame, there was a hope that she could nevertheless challenge for a medal.

At the Giro, she was in great form, it’s just that Marianne Vos, the most dominant rider women’s cycling has ever seen, was better. Vos won five of the nine stages. Pooley had to settle for second place overall and the queen of the mountains title.

Pooley rode tirelessly for her team-mate Lizzie Armitstead in the Olympic road race, making life hard for their opponents on Box Hill, but when it came to the time trial, she was out of sorts and could finish only sixth.

However, she was flying at the Tour de l’Ardeche, winning two stages and the overall. At the World Championships in Valkenburg, her team were bronze medallists in the new team time trial, then she narrowly missed out on a medal in the individual time trial. In the road race, which should have suited her with its repeated short, steep climbs, she was there or thereabouts until the break went. When Vos responded at a critical moment, Pooley hesitated and that was that.

Thankfully her threats to retire have been shelved but it’s easy to understand her frustration. If she was a man, she’d be on a huge salary and feted as one of the best climbers in the world.

Don’t agree with our choice of riders? You can vote for your top 10 British Riders of 2012 on the CW website. When Tweeting about our countdown or your nominees, use the #ridersoftheyear hashtag. We’ll be running your choice in a future issue.
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Related links

Cycling Weekly’s 2012 British riders of the year index

Riders revealed so far…
December 7: Numbers 36-35 – Nikki Harris and Russell Downing
December 6: Numbers 38-37 – Anthony Kappes and Andy Fenn
December 5: Numbers 40-39 – Josh Edmondson and Matt Bottrill
December 4: Numbers 42-41 – Luke Rowe and Michael Hutchinson
December 3: Numbers 44-43 – Sam Lowe and Jon Dibben
December 2: Numbers 46-45 – Rebecca James and Jessica Varnish 
December 1: Numbers 50-47 – Alex Peters, Kristian House, Richard Handley and Wendy Houvenaghel