Velo Club Norwich sent special message to Emma Pooley ahead of her much-praised London 2012 ride

Norwich cyclist Emma Pooley was given a friendly boost from Velo Club Norwich ahead of her successful involvement with the women's cycling road race yesterday.

VC Norwich met outside The Forum at 9.30am on Sunday morning, as they do every week, and decided to send a special message to the club's honorary member ahead of her race.

Pooley was praised for the key part she played in helping Lizzie Armitstead claim Team GB's first medal of London 2012, winning silver in a dramatic sprint to the finish line in The Mall.

She had prepared for the gruelling 140km race by riding with VC Norwich just eight days before, so the club took this picture and sent it to her mobile phone before the race.

Bob Carter, VC Norwich's communications officer, said: 'Emma is an honorary member and every time she comes up to Norfolk she comes out riding with us.

'Eight days before the race she had come out on a club ride to north Norfolk with us, out to Holt, East Runton and West Runton, places like that, a good 40 or 50 miles.'

Pooley may not have actually won a medal but Armitstead was full of praise for the former Norwich High School for Girls pupil, saying: 'That's a great debt I owe her.'

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Mr Carter continued: 'In our eyes Emma gets at least a share of the medal, a sliver of silver at least. And Dave Brailsford (British Cycling's performance director) was on the television on Saturday night and paid tribute to the way she pulled the peloton along and made them work so much harder so that they couldn't catch the breakaway.

'She did exactly what she was supposed to do.'

Around 70 to 80 cyclists congregate outside The Forum at 9.30am every Sunday morning before heading out on a ride, and new members are always welcome to come along.

Emma Pooley will be in action again from 12.30pm on Wednesday, when the women's road time-trial is held from Hampton Court Palace.