The 33-year-old will apparently ride with Lotto-Soudal Ladies, the team she competed for in 2014, and will follow up her appearance in Britain with the Giro d’Italia Femminile, the blue riband event for women’s cycling.
Her last appearance at the Italian race saw her win three stages, the mountains classification and her ninth place on general classification would have been far better had it not been for injury on the opening stage.
“Emma wants another full go for the Olympics and chose to make her preparation for our team,” Lotto-Soudal Ladies team manager Danny Schoobaert told Het Nieuwsblad. “Her first race in our colours will be the British Aviva Women’s Tour. She will then ride the Giro Rosa.”
The former world time trial champion made herself available for Olympic selection late last year, but to be included she will need to make the road race team.
After very nearly two years away this return will reacquaint her with the rigours of bunch racing, whilst further proving to British selectors that she is the correct choice for Rio.
Pooley, who won Olympic time trial silver in Beijing, retired from road cycling after finishing second in both the time trial and road race at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and has since been competing in duathlon and triathlon events. She had some notable successes, winning the long distance duathlon world championship and a number of long course triathlon victories.
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The programme on Pooley’s website does not yet include her return with Lotto-Soudal and clearly indicates her intention to continue competing in multi-discipline events throughout this year.
The calendar does include the British time trial championships in June, which will be another key step in gaining selection for the Olympic team.
It is clear that despite having no intention to return to cycling full-time, the lure of the hilly Rio Olympic course, perfectly suited to her climbing abilities, was too much to resist.
There is also no doubt her climbing prowess is something that could assist Lizzie Armitstead’s gold medal challenge in the road race, though the world champion herself has previously admitted the course is tough enough to suit a pure climber.
Pooley’s inclusion would therefore provide the British team with cards to play come Rio this August.
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