Photo gallery: Norwich supporters praise Emma Pooley’s Olympic effort
The people of Norwich are proud of you - that was the message to Emma Pooley who rode her heart out at yesterday's Olympic time trial.
Four years ago was almost a Cinderella story for the former Norwich High School and Norwich School pupil. Relatively unknown at the time, she claimed a wonderful silver in the women's road time-trial. The surprise on her face during the podium celebrations said it all.
Going into yesterday's race, it was widely-speculated that the flat Hampton Court course did not suit the diminutive cyclist, whose fantastic power-to-weight ratio is best suited to hills, and the 29-year-old had to settle for sixth place in the women's individual time trial.
She finished to huge cheers over the line as she finished the 29km course in 38 minutes 37.70 seconds - a time which saw her finish out of the medals and one minute off the gold winning time of American's Kristin Armstrong.
The result left the Brit, who will today be returning to the city, in tears.
Meanwhile, her mum said she had been too nervous to watch as her daughter tackled the course, her sister Sophie, a junior doctor, had been cheering from the roadside and her dad Martin Pooley, who lives in Eaton, was supporting from the stands.
Members of city cycling club Velo Club Norwich - of which Pooley is an honorary member - could be spotted along the course and supporters across Norwich were keeping their fingers crossed for her.
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Her mum Jane Braithwaite, who lives in Thorpe St Andrew and today celebrates her 60th birthday, said: 'I couldn't sleep the night before, it was absolutely nerve-wracking.
'In my heart of hearts, I knew she was not going to get a medal because we always knew it was not a course which suited her but there was a little bit of hope because she is in such good form.
'She is fiercely competitive and will be disappointed.'
At the weekend, the British rider helped teammate Lizzie Armitstead win her silver medal, putting in a tremendous shift as the riders made two ascents of Box Hill.
She has also had some strong results so far this season, taking the mountain's classification in the women's version of the Giro d'Italia, the Giro Donne, and second overall.
Bob Carter, communications officer for VC Norwich, said: 'We are all very proud of her. I think she acquitted herself well. We knew even before the start that the course was not her ideal course because she needs it to go up and down a bit more.
'We think she has been brilliant and it a great representative for the club and the city.'
To see Emma Pooley in action, click on this story online at www.eveningnews24.co.uk
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