Cycling: Brits Laws and Pooley claim shock bronze
Consistent racing by Beijing Olympic silver medallist Emma Pooley and reigning British champion Sharon Laws saw their Dutch squad, AA Drink-Leontien.nl, win a bronze in the opening trade team time trial of the World Road Championships yesterday.
The six-rider line-up finished one minute 59 seconds slower than the day's winners, Specialized-Lululemon of Germany, on what proved to be an exceptionally challenging 34.2km course through the rolling Limberg countryside of southern Netherlands. Orica-AIS, an Australian team, clinched the silver.
In an event reintroduced to the World Championships this year after a two-decade absence, Pooley and Laws' team were never considered a major favourite, making their bronze medal an impressive achievement.
But despite losing one of their riders early on, with Pooley driving hard on the climbs – her speciality – AA Drinks were inside the top five on each of the intermediate checkpoints and briefly held the top spot on the leaderboard at the finish.
"It's a very good result and the best we could have hoped for," Pooley said. "There was a solid ride from the whole team, but particularly Sharon, who was called up at the last minute and who had only ridden the course once."
Pooley admitted they had indirectly benefited, too, from another team's misfortune – local side Rabobank looked to be heading towards bronze but suffered a series of mechanical issues and crashes that left them 21 seconds slower than AA drinks.
In the men's equivalent event Team Sky – who started out last, an honour usually reserved for one of the top favourites – did not live up to expectations, finishing ninth and well out of the running. Instead the victory went to Belgian squad Omega Pharma-Quick Step in a tightly fought duel with American outfit BMC, just three seconds behind.
Sky's management explained later that one of their riders, the Colombian Sergio Henao, was brought in as a last-minute replacement for one of the squad's top experts in the speciality, former triple world time-trial champion Mick Rogers, who had fallen sick. Another one of their best time triallists, Olympic pursuit gold medallist Geraint Thomas, had a mechanical problem with his bike early on.
"The boys fought back well," Sean Yates said. "We had four guys for the last 20km and they climbed up the rankings a bit before the finish. They didn't give up."
With the rest of the events in the Netherlands to be raced between national, rather than trade team, line-ups, Pooley will return to racing tomorrow in the women's individual time trial, an event which she won in 2010 and claimed bronze in last year.
Today there are two races, the junior and Under-23 men's time trials.
Latest in Sport
Eden Hazard exclusive interview: All is rosy in the garden of Eden
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
Paul Scholes: Jose Mourinho's attempt to influence football's decision-makers is not working. In fact, it may have backfired
It's time to stop the 'small club' jibes after Chelsea signed £200m Yokohama deal
After record-breaking £5.136bn Premier League TV deal, why are Everton the only British club to win in Europe?
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...