Norwich’s Olympic cyclist Emma Pooley set for return to professional circuit
- Credit: PA
Norwich's Beijing Olympics silver medallist Emma Pooley is looking forward to being back at the races next season when she returns her full focus to the professional cycling circuit.
The 31-year-old Switzerland-based cyclist and former world time-trial champion reacted to a disappointing London 2012 by spending most of her present year completing her geotechnical engineering degree – something she started back in 2005.
As a result Pooley has seen her British Cycling funding end for next season.
However, the former Norwich High School for Girls pupil is looking forward to a full calendar next season after signing with professional team Lotto-Belisol for 2014.
'I've missed it this year, especially not being at the big races when you hear what happened and who won,' said Pooley – who still found time to win May's six-stage Tour Languedoc Roussillon in France, one of her four UCI-ranked victories.
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'It'll be nice to do a full season of racing without having something else on the side. I should be able to get more sleep before races too.
'It wasn't as if I retired or had a sabbatical – I still raced. I was surprised with how I did, considering the circumstances.
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'It's good knowing that I can focus on one thing for a full year next year.
'I'll be able to plan things better because I know I'll be in control of my schedule, and not tied down by looming deadlines and work.'
Pooley has also spent her year pushing the cause for a women's Tour de France to help bring greater equality to her side of the sport.
Le Tour Entier campaign continues to battle on that front, while Pooley's 2013 season may well include the Women's Tour of Britain – given equal status to the men's event for the first time and set to finish in Bury St Edmunds on May 11.
'It's great there will be TV coverage, it will be a real spectacle in the same way the men's race is and it sounds like towns were battling to host the race – that wouldn't have happened a few years ago,' Pooley added, speaking to Cycling Weekly.