Emma Pooley – and new national champions! by Pigeons
Photo: © Women’s Giro Del Trentino
The Giro Trentino was a lot of fun, although after day 1, there was pretty much no chance of beating Emma Pooley. She gained nearly 3 minutes on the monster first stage, after she attacked at 25km out – and in a three-stage race, that was going to be hard to get back. HTC played a strange race as well – they rode stage 2 (in the pouring rain) for sprinter Ina Teutenberg, and then stage 3 for GC star Judith Arndt – which meant Emma could just sit in the péloton and keep her time gains, while her Cervélo team-mate Claudia Häusler went on the attack (Why? To try to beat Emma off the péloton? To try to get 2nd place? Because Cervélo don’t have team tactics as much as “everyone attack, we’ll see which of you wins, it doesn’t matter who, as long as it’s the team”?). The final podium was Pooley, Arndt and Häusler (you can see the full results here) – and if there was any doubt already, this confirms 2010 as Emma’s best season to date.
Emma’s always been a star, but she’s been a TT and climbing specialist up to now. It’s fair to say that her descending wasn’t the best, and she definitely preferred riding solo to the peloton – and although this didn’t stop her gaining impressive palmares, including bronze in the 2008 Time Trial, I’d assumed it would be Häusler who would lead the team for 2010. But whatever training Emma’s been doing in the off-season, it’s certainly paid off.
So what’s she won so far in 2010?
Well, she started at the end of April, winning La Flèche Wallonne (the most Classic of the Spring Classics for women – held on the same day and the same course as the men (well, without a stretch at the start), and a round of the UCI road World Cup, to boot) with an attack on the final climb of the Mur, ahead of Nicole Cooke and all the stars of the péloton. A week later, she won both the 1.1 rated GP Elsy Jacobs day-race in Luxembourg and then the GP de Suisse, a 1.1 rated Time Trial competition that’s held as part of the Tour of Romandie. That was a pretty good week and a half, but then she went one better and won the Tour de l’Aude, a 10-day stage race with lots and lots of Pyrenean madness. It was a great win – she attacked all the way through the mountains, winning one of the toughest stage in a 2-woman breakaway with Mara Abbott, American mountain goat extraordinaire (only a few days before the same pair had escaped, where Emma had been 2nd to Mara). She ended up over 4 minutes up on Abbott, and if she had ended the season there, it would have been impressive by anyone’s standards. But no, there was Trentino – and after the GB National Road Race on Sunday (don’t you just love British Cycling, and the fact the women’s race starts at 8am? The women’s field is a lot stronger than the men’s, but it feels like they’re going out of their way to downplay it, and do what they can to stop people being able to actually watch the race) she heads over to Italy for the Giro Donne (and if you’re not sure why you should love the Giro Donne, check out this review of last year’s version, complete with videos and links and all sorts of things to whet your appetite… and remember that this year they go up the Stelvio…)
The other thing about Emma is that as well as being ridiculously talented, she’s also very clever indeed. She’s fluent in at least 3 languages, and her off-season project is a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering… She also has a reputation for being a great person – and one of my favourite things about her is her self-deprecating charm. Don’t you hate people like that? Here’s to her winning streak continuing all season, and out to the Worlds….
Speaking of the GB National Champs, it’s National Championships Week for a lot of the cycling world. Most of the road races happen at the weekend, but some key results:
ITALY – National Road Race Champion – MONIA BACCAILLE
Monia, a 26-year old cyclist for the Valdarno team (how many other countries have a team sponsored by their national prison service? I love Italy!) retains the national champs jersey ahead of Top Girls’ Alessandra d’Ettorre and Safi Pasta-Zara’s Lorena Foresi. This was one of the toughest fields of the week – in my view the only one harder is the Netherlands – so a great result.
THE NETHERLANDS – Time Trial Champion – MARIANNE VOS
This was the first time Marianne has won this, which given her insane list of palmares, seems bizarre – and she’s very happy to have won it. Cervélo’s Regina Bruins and Kirsten Wild completed the podium.
FRANCE – Time Trial Champion – JEANNIE LONGO-CIPRELLI
Ah, Jeannie…. She’s 51 years old, and has won 57 national titles, gold and silver in the Olympic Road Race, silver and bronze in the Olympic Time Trial, been the road World Champion 5 times, TT Champ 4 times, won 4 World Championships on the track, and I could go on and on. She’s an incredible talent, and she doesn’t show any sign of stopping any time too. She’s also got a degree in Maths, an MBA and all kinds of amazing achievements. It always makes me happy, knowing she’s out there somewhere in the world.
CZECH REPUBLIC – Time Trial Champion – MARTINA SÁBLÍKOVÁ
Martina’s better known as a speed skater – she’s won a lot of things, but most recently the Winter Olympics golds in the 3,000m and 5,000m, and bronze in the 1,500m. Lots of the skaters use cycling in their training – but they generally don’t win their national champs!
HTC’s EMILIA FAHLIN won the Swedish Time Trial ahead of Emma Johansson
Track star LEIRE OLABERRIA won the Spanish Time Trial
and Valdarno’s TATIANA ANTOSHINA won the Russian Time Trial.
That’s a lot already – but watch out all weekend for more! I’ll be looking on CQ Ranking’s results page for the latest updates, but because I’m lovely, I’ll update you on the important ones next week!