Emma Pooley has been signed by the Belgian Lotto-Belisol Ladies team for the 2014 season, the squad announced on Thursday.
The 2010 time trial world champion and 2008 Olympic Games time trial silver medallist rode for the Bigla team in 2013, but elected to miss riding in the world championships for Great Britain in Florence to concentrate on her geotechnical engineering PhD studies in Zurich.
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That’s not to say Pooley has swapped physical exercise for exercise books – she won the Lausanne (running) marathon in October and has also competed in a few Ironman triathlons. On the cycling side, she won the Tour Languedoc Roussillon in May and two stages of the Tour de Feminin-O cenu Ceskeho Svycarska in July.
Pooley has been at the centre of recent calls for greater gender parity in cycling, and has stated that she wishes to see a women’s Tour de France as well as equal treatment of male and female athletes.
At the end of the 2012 season Pooley had questioned continuing her professional cycling career after the demise of her AA Drink team and a personally disappointing performance in the London 2012 Olympic time trial, where she finished sixth.
“I was worried that I wasn’t at the right level,” Pooley said of her 2012 season to Cycling Weekly in March. “But looking back on last year  the only thing I regret is that I didn’t enjoy it more because I was so worried about performing.”