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Emma Pooley

Olympic Silver Medallist, Time Trial

DSC8449 Emma Pooley  - silver medallist at the Beijing Olympics 

(August 2008)



Photo - Rob Jones, Canadian Cyclist.com

Emma Pooley has had a really successful Olympics, she was asked what she felt was the key element of this success. "Thanks! I was lucky in that the course profile suited my strengths, there's always an element of luck... Also as I got to see the course well in advance so I could train accordingly."

Pooley, demonstrated amazing strength under difficult conditions, particularly on the climb in the road race. This was key to the success of the team, she was asked what she thought her other strengths are. "I'm not afraid to try solo breaks and I don't really mind the rain that helped in Beijing" said Pooley.

Anyone who had their hopes set on the Olympics had a training schedule that enabled them to peak at just the right time for the games. Pooley was asked what her training schedule has been like for the last 12 months. "It varied hugely depending on what phase I was in, I couldn't really describe a typical week, as there wasn't really one. Sorry, that's not very helpful is it?"

In cycling today there are so many advances in nutrition and general well-being. Pooley was asked what support she had received in this area. "Through British Cycling I've been able to see a nutritionist at the English Institute of Sport. But that didn't change anything major; it's not too difficult to work out what's sensible and what's not. He told me to eat more gels when I'm training and that's about it!"

Asked is she preferred road racing or time trial, given her success in both, Pooley responded. "I find time trials easier on the head. The unpredictability and aggressiveness of road racing is quite stressful. But when a road race goes well, it's much more thrilling."

Given the relatively short amount of time Pooley has been racing at the elite level of cycling. She was asked what she thought has been the greatest aspect of women's racing she has learnt in the last 12 months. "My descending has got a lot better" said Pooley. She is being modest, Pooley has transformed into a very capable cyclist with a desire to keep improving. She was asked how the experience of professional cycling compare to other sports she has competed in. "I was never at an elite level at any other sport. I did county-level cross country running and age-group triathlon and duathlon. Pro cycling is very different to any of that!"

Given Pooley's small stature, she was asked if it been difficult to get equipment/clothing to fit.
"Yup, it can be a bit of a nightmare being 1.57m tall! Getting a correctly sized time trial frame was a real issue- British Cycling built me a UKSI frame. The road racing bike was fine though, Specialized make a whole range of small frame sizes and they're excellent. Clothing wasn't such a problem, apart from always looking like a fool because my shorts come down to my knees. I used to struggle to find gloves to fit but again Specialized do some really tiny ones" said Pooley

The UKIS frame for your Time Trial bike was a special design; Pooley was asked if she had any input into this. "Kind of. A prototype was built first and the BC boffins listened to my feedback after I'd trained and raced on that. They designed the handlebars after discussing with me what I wanted. I did try to make a few suggestions but it's not my field of engineering so I was normally laughed at!"

As one of the leader, in Team Specialized Designs for Women, Pooley was asked, what the most challenging aspect about joining a team in the role of supporter was. "Well, I'm not always the leader at Specialized, it depends on the race. So I have had some practice! I was really worried I might mess up and spoil Nicole's chances though."

Pooley had been juggling work and training in preparation for the Games, she was asked how difficult this has been. "There have been tricky times, when a paper was due or I had to be at a conference when I wanted to be training. But mostly it wasn't too bad because my supervisor was very helpful and allowed me a lot of flexibility. I've got a great deal of catching up to do though!"

With the rumoured changes in Team Specialized Designs for Women for the 2009 season, Pooley was asked what her plans are for the new season. "I don't think the team is finished! But I'm not sure of my plans for 2009 either. I hadn't really planned past last Wednesday" added Pooley

It has been widely publicised about the success of the British team, Pooley was asked why she thought they had been so successful this year. "Investment in people, coaching, training and kit, and good legs" said Pooley smiling.

Lottery supported British sport is very different to the professional team; Pooley was asked how the set up of GB team compared with what she has experienced in Switzerland. "The GB team has more financial resources, which makes some things easier. The people I'm privileged to work with on both teams are 100% dedicated, do a great job, and are a pleasure to work with, which is the most important thing for me."

Like the other riders interviewed Pooley was asked if she had to design the best team in the world what would it look like. She responded "I'm not sure... but I probably wouldn't be on it."

Pooley like the others was asked who had been the greatest inspiration to her recently and in the past. "Kelly Holmes was such an inspiration in the Athens Olympics, I'll never forget watching her win. Recently, Rebecca Romero she is an incredible athlete" said Pooley.

Asked what she would say to a budding cyclist to inspire them to achieve good results in the sport, Pooley said, "Um, I'm not sure. Inspiration isn't really my thing. Perhaps I'd say: think of all the coffee stops!"

Asked about the media reports related to whether cycling and weightlifting should be included in the Olympics in the future due to the perceived issues with drugs, Pooley responded, "I'm sure there are doping problems in other sports and I think it's unfair in that offences in other sports are given less publicity than in cycling. I'd prefer it if all athletes were tested more often, to improve the rates of detection. That would act as a deterrent too" said Pooley

Thanks and congratulations to Emma Pooley Olympic silver medallist - time trial, 2008  - for chatting to WomensCycling.net

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Emma Pooley at the Olympics

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DSC8449   WTTOG808-167     

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