The Cervelo Test Team delivered a second World Cup win in a row, with Emma Pooley taking an audacious win over the 110km race in Montreal. On a day which threatened to be as wet as 2008, the sun finally showed just before the noon start time and the race was run under warm and sunny conditions.
Emma Pooley sprinted away from the bunch in the opening kilometre and had created a sixteen second gap by the time she passed over the climb of Mont Royal. Pooley never looked back; she powered her way around the ten kilometre circuit, extending her advantage to over 3 minutes by mid-race and then defending the gap as the chasers behind began to take vital seconds away as they raised their pace.
Mattis and Dvorack take up the chase
An early chase by Kath Mattis (Webcor) and Andrea Dvorack (Colavita Sutter) held Pooley at around one minute thirty for about 20 kilometres, but they eventually went back to the bunch. The race was split by the pace and by the ferocity of Mont Royal. Riders lost contact with the back of the bunch and then the groups they found themselves in as the race progressed.
Team Columbia Women’s Judith Arndt and Kim Anderson made several concerted efforts to chase back to the Briton as the final thirty kilometres point was passed. They strung out the chasing group with their pace. These efforts were policed by Regina Bruins and Carla Ryan, Pooley’s team-mates, who were in the chase group. The effect of the more concentrated chases in the closing laps served to reduce Pooley’s gap from over two minutes to just over one minute, but the group behind was unable to get any closer.
Emma Pooley looked to be finally enjoying her ride as she rode the final kilometre, down the course, past the start / finish area, took the U-turn and climbed the final 200 metres to the finish. There was a hint of a smile on her face which turned into a broad smile as she approached the finish line. Visibly tired, she raised her arms in a victory salute, grabbed the bars to steady herself and then crossed the line with both arms raised again. Pooley stopped just beyond the finish line and was congratulated by a clearly delighted Directeur Sportif, Manel Lacambra. As she took a long drink of water and put on some warm clothes, the bunch was approaching the finish line.
Fight for second place
The chasing group had a battle of its own in the final lap. Emma Johansson (Sweden) tried to break away on the final time over Mont Royal. She didn’t manage to do so and as a result had to try her chances against the sprinters in the group in order to gain the vital points she needed to regain the World Cup leader’s jersey.
Johansson began her sprint early, aware that Trixi Worrack (Equipe Nurnberger) would be a contender in the race to the line. She accelerated up the finishing straight and kept going as the German chased up the outside and gave a final lunge for the line. A photo finish was required to split the pair, but Johansson was given the decision; second place ahead of Worrack.
Pooley’s team-mates Regina Bruins and Carla Ryan finished in the bunch, crossing the line in fifth and ninth place respectively. Almost immediately after finishing, they headed to the place where Pooley was recovering and giving immediate TV interviews, found their team-mate amongst the media surrounding her and congratulated their comrade on her stunning win.
Emma Pooley was visibly tired and sore from her efforts as she climbed on to the podium, a worthwhile victor in Montreal. "I thought they [the chasers] would leave me out ‘to dry’ for a little while. They know that I do that [make solo breakaways, particularly on hilly courses] and normally they catch me again, so I’m normally the sacrificial lamb. I’m used to riding 80 kilometres alone and getting caught and dropped again."
Pooley laughed when asked about the team’s tactics in the race. "But on this course its very hard to chase someone and I knew that my team-mates were in the group behind, so we had a good chance to win even if I got caught. So I gave it everything and made it hard for the other teams."
Emma Johansson back in leader’s jersey
Emma Johansson will wear the World Cup leader’s jersey in Sweden at the end of July in the seventh round of the 2009 series. "I had an idea that I was just ahead of Trixi [in the sprint], but you never know for sure." She said of the sprint. "I know that Trixi’s really fast and I was hoping that we’d ride away in a group over the top [of Mont Royal] on the last lap, but no one really wanted to ride. There were five of us, but no-one wanted to ride. I had my team-manager in the race radio telling I needed to start the sprint early so I did and I just gave it everything.
"It’s lovely to be back in the leader’s jersey. I love it." The next round will see the Swede competing in front of home crowds, "Its really important for the sport in Sweden that I’m able to take it there. I’m very happy."
Website: Cerv?lo TestTeam