British team manager says new world champ Pooley is just getting started

Dave Brailsford says new world champ Emma Pooley is the perfect mix of brains and brawn — and still has room for improvement

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2010 World Women’s Time Trial Championships: Pooley had to borrow a teammate's bike and then put it to good use.
Pooley had to borrow a teammate's bike and then put it to good use.

The new elite women’s world time trial champ may be laconic, but Emma Pooley’s team manager is not.

Asked what’s made her the rider she is, British team manager and Team Sky principal, Dave Brailsford, first said: “Lots of hard work.”

“Emma’s a very intelligent person, and she’s looked at her performances and what she needs to do, and she’s put in a lot of hard work to move forward from where she was (at the Olympic Games) in Beijing.

“She was a silver medallist in the time trial in Beijing (behind Kristin Armstrong) but she’s a much better time trialist, a much better rider now —much more accomplished. Technically, she’s much better; gauging the effort, the ability to corner, the ability to attack … Really understanding what it’s all about has moved her forward, and today I think she demonstrated that she’s the world’s best.”

Before Wednesday’s crowning moment, Pooley enjoyed an enviable year with victory in the women’s Flèche Wallonne and GP Plouay among her blue riband wins, as well as the British road race and time trial titles. “She’s had a cracking season, a real breakthrough season on the road,” said Brailsford.

“I think in Emma now, we see a different rider — and I think a lot of that is due to self-confidence. She actually believes in herself, she believes she can win, she’s getting used to winning, and she’s getting used to attacking and taking races on. And I think all those ingredients pulled together are making Emma the rider she now is.”

Four days shy of her 28th birthday, is this sagacious, Cambridge-educated, 5’2”, 110-pound Mighty Mouse who’s currently studying for a PhD in geotechnical engineering at the peak of her physical powers?

“To be honest, I think she could get better at time trialing. She’s a brilliant time trialist — very, very gifted but there’s room for improvement, for sure, and I think if she keeps moving and being committed and dedicated as she has been for the last couple of years, I think she’ll still get better in time trialing.”

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