Cycling Weekly sat down with Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws a few hours before the women?s time trial.
The two British women were happy to joke about their chances in the time trial but also revealed their gear choices and strategy for the 25.15km event. They admitted a good ride would be rewarded with an Italian ice-cream.
CW: Are you ready for the time trial?
Sharon Laws: ?We?re as ready as we ever will be??
Emma Pooley: ?I?ll tell you if my form is good after the time trial. It?s actually difficult to tell because I have raced since the Olympics but a stage race like the Tour Ardeche is very different. I hope my form is still up there. I think the race programme British Cycling came up with was good. We had a rest after Beijing and then raced and then recovered again before the worlds. I?ve never raced so late in the year before.?
CW: Have you done any specific training for the time trial recently?
Emma: I did some time trial efforts before the Tour Ardeche but I?ve been recovering since then.?
Sharon: ?I did the national time trial championships before the Tour Ardeche, but it?s been mainly training for the road race since then.?
CW: What do you think of the course?
Sharon: We did two laps on Monday and then rode it again on Tuesday. We changed our gearing after the first ride, so we wanted to make sure it was right. We?ve changed our small ring from a 39 to a 44 because the hill isn?t that steep but it?s early in the course and so the big ring would tire the legs out. A 39 is a bit small but a 44 is perfect.?
Emma: ?We?ve got a 54 on the front but we?re thinking about going up to 55, but that?s a bit big.?
CW: What do you think is the key part of the course?
Sharon: ?I think the middle section of the climb, where there are false flats will be important. You kind of ease off after a climb and there?s a bit of a head wind, so it will be important to go hard there. There are a few corners that could be dangerous but hopefully it?ll be dry and the same for everyone.?
CW: Emma, are you still using the special handlebars you used for the Olympic time trial?
Emma: ?Yes. It?s still the same bars but we?ve put the shifters on the aero bars because I?ll be on the hoods. There?s quite a bit of climbing but it?s not like the Beijing course, so I?ll be on the aero bars more and so need the changers up there.?
CW: Who are the favourites in the women?s time trial?
Emma: ?Kristin Armstrong of the USA for sure. Christiane Soeder of Austria was expected to be better at the Olympics and wasn?t but she?s back to form now and certainly looked good in the Tour Ardeche. Judith Arndt has been winning all year and is good at time trials but she hasn?t done well in them recently. Saying that she?ll probably win the world title??
Sharon: ?I think the Australians are going to do well. They know the course really well because they?re based near Varese and have ridden it a lot.?
CW: What are your thoughts on the road race?
Sharon: We?re not thinking about it yet and we haven?t looked at the course yet. We?ll look at the course on Thursday.?
Emma: ?We?re taking the races one at a time. I?ll start thinking about the road race after I?ve recovered from the time trial.?
CW: Is there less pressure to get a result after the success at the Beijing Olympics?
Emma: ?Not really. Beijing was very stressful and it was nice we did well but we know we can?t relax because if don?t do well people will write into Cycling Weekly and say we?re rubbish?(laughs).”
Sharon: ?I didn?t have a great Olympics and so I want to do well, but we?re at the end of my first big season, so we?ll see what happens in the races.?
Full women’s time trial start list on the UCI site
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2007 World Champs: Women’s road race
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