Last year the world championships went perfectly for the Great Britain women’s team, with Nicole Cooke winning the rainbow jersey.

 

This year, nothing went to plan, with Nicole Cooke retiring mid-race, Niki Harris crashing out early, hurting her shoulder and Emma Pooley unable to go with the decisive break of the race.

 

Pooley finished 14th, near the back of the main bunch, 1-07 behind lone winner Tatian Guderzo of Italy.

 

Lizzie Armistead and Sharon Laws were the only other British finishers, 6-54 behind. Young riders Katie Colclough, Lucy Martin didn’t finish but got valuable world championships experience.

 

Pooley disappointed

 

Emma Pooley was hugely disappointed when she finished. She was disappointed with the result but also disappointed how she raced.

 

“I just feel like I didn’t ride very well and I think I let the girls down a little bit,” Pooley said emotionally.

 

“I didn’t make the break and just wasn’t strong enough on the day. I didn’t feel like I was very strong today.”

 

Pooley was often on or very near the front of the race but perhaps wasted valuable energy that could have been useful in the final two laps when he decisive break formed on the climb.

 

“It’s better to be at the front rather than the back and struggling,” she said.

 

“You never know when it’s going to kick off and you have to be present. I’m not very good at saving my energy and that’s why I’m not very good at winning.”

 

“I like hard races and so that’s why it’s particularly disappointing,” she concluded.

 

Cooke retires after five laps

 

Nicole Cooke pulled out after five of the nine laps. She had fought to stay in the bunch, chasing back on after getting dropped on the climb, but she threw in the towel when she was more than two minutes down.

 

It was not a nice way for the reigning world champion to bow out but Cooke has been struggling to find any kind of form in the last few weeks after a mid-season virus knocked her for six. 

 

“It was a very hard race for me and I knew over the last few months that it would be difficult but I tried my best,” she said.

 

“Obviously my form wasn’t great in the build up to worlds and I knew it. I wanted to be there and give my best. But I wasn’t in the condition to be up there.”

 

Cooke has had a difficult season. She enjoyed being world and Olympic champion but the problems with her Vision 1 team and then the virus meant she was the shadow of the rider who dominated in Beijing and Varese last year.  

 

“The results haven’t been at the level they were last year. It wasn’t an immensely brilliant season and one which I’m immensely proud off,” she admitted.

 

“In all fairness it was a level down but all this year I rode in the rainbow jersey which was absolutely incredible and I’ve had many special moments. Now it’s come to and end it’s not quite what the end I wanted. But I’ll be back next year.”