Olympics silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead pays tribute to role of Norwich’s Emma Pooley
Emma Pooley one again played her part in a Great Britain road cycling success story by helping Lizzie Armitstead to silver in Sunday’s road race.
By rights, Pooley should have three Olympic medals rather than one, having four years ago she played a key role for Nicole Cooke as she won Great Britain’s first gold in Beijing in the same event.
And one Sunday Pooley followed a similar script in the cause of Armitstead, who won Team GB’s first medal at London 2012.
Norwich cyclist Pooley can now focus on Wednesday’s time-trial, where she is looking to upgrade her own silver from Beijing – and no one will be cheering louder than Armitstead.
Despite reports of friction between Armitstead and Cooke in the GB camp, they got their tactics spot on.
Unfortunately the powerhouse that is Marianne Vos had just too much left in the tank in the final sprint at The Mall.
Pooley put in a tremendous shift as the riders made two ascents of Box Hill, while Lucy Martin and even Cooke played their part as well in often appalling conditions.
“It was an awesome performance from my team-mates – Emma did exactly what was asked of her and that’s a great debt I owe her,” said Armitstead, who just failed to overhaul red-hot favourite Vos.
“We discussed what might happen before the race and it played out that way. I got myself into a break but Vos was always going to be dangerous and I knew that before we started.”
Pooley insists she is in shape for Wednesday’s time-trial but it won’t be easy. The flat course lacks the hills she needs to be considered the favourite, with Germany’s reigning world champion Judith Arndt seemingly the one to beat.
“The first aim for this week was to get something out of the road race and I’m delighted for Lizzie,” said ex-Norwich High School for Girls pupil Pooley. “I can now start really thinking about the time trial but I’m not concerned about the course.
“There’s nothing I can do about it, I can’t turn myself into a big powerful rider even though I’ve tried.
“The margins are very fine and I need to remember that the Beijing course didn’t really suit me either.
“I would certainly be disappointed if I didn’t get a medal but all I can really do is my best and that’s all I’m asking. If I come away from Wednesday knowing I could not have ridden even a fraction faster then I will consider that a good performance.”