Tuesday 5 June 2012

Pooley wins Durango-Durango

Emma Pooley
British AA Drink-Leontien.nl rider Emma Pooley chalked up (what by my reckoning) was her 41st professional victory and her first this season at Tuesday's Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria after using her highly respected climbing skills to escape from a strong lead group on the penultimate climb, then rode hard to maintain her advantage all the way to the line.

The initial part of the race had been characterised by constant tit-for-tat battles with various attacks firing off and being chased down only for a new attempt to replace it. In the last 20km, the opposing teams redoubled their efforts and worked together to try to bring Pooley back but were simply outclassed on the final pair of hills.

With 2km it was clear that the only remaining battle was the one for second place: the chase groups merged and began concentrating on getting their sprinters into position and, with Pooley already home and dry, thirteen of them contested second place. Orica-GreenEDGE's Claudia Haussler did a superb job of leading out Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, but on this occasion Teut's incredible sprint didn't deliver and she settled for third behind Specialised-Lululemon's Charlotte Becker.

Elizabeth Armitstead and Sharon Laws, also AA-Drink, took fourth and eighth respectively. With their Dutch team mate Lucinda Brand taking ninth, it was a great day for AA Drink - and further proof that if you want to see British riders dominate cycling, the women are the ones to watch.

It's also indication that a slow start to the season was caused by Pooley timing her peak for the Giro Donne, the last Grand Tour in women's cycling, and for the Olympics. When she does, however, she'll face far tougher opposition that any hill of mountain: Marianne Vos, who won this race for the last two editions but was away this year with a broken collarbone.

Top Ten
  1.  Emma Pooley AA Drink-Leontien.nl 2h51'35"
  2.  Charlotte Becker Specialized-Lululemon +54"
  3.  Judith Arndt Orica GreenEDGE ST
  4.  Elizabeth Armitstead AA Drink-Leontien.nl ST
  5.  Annemiek Van Vleuten Rabobank ST
  6.  Alena Amialyusik Be Pink ST
  7.  Emma Johansson Hitec Products-Mistral Home ST
  8.  Sharon Laws AA Drink-Leontien.nl ST
  9.  Lucinda Brand AA Drink-Leontien.nl ST
  10.  Ellen Van Dijk Specialized- Lululemon ST
(Full results)

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