Pooley tips Vos for title
Showdown set for Saturday in Limburg
Last Updated: September 21, 2012 1:46pm
Emma Pooley believes Olympic champion Marianne Vos will be the woman to beat in Saturday's World Championships road race.
The Dutchwoman won the Olympic title in July, out-foxing Lizzie Armitstead in the sprint up The Mall after fine work from Pooley earlier in the day, and will be the favourite for the 129-kilometre road race on her home roads in Limburg, Holland.
Armitstead is absent due to illness, meaning Pooley could be given the opportunity to lead the British team.
To win on an undulating course, Pooley knows she will have to beat the dominant Vos, who is likely to be a marked woman.
The 29-year-old Briton said: "There's a lot of climbing in it, but I don't think it's got my name all over it. It's got Vos' name all over it, but it's another opportunity and I'll give it a good crack.
"She's going to want to win so badly. Her only weakness is her strength - she's so, so good."
Pooley is joined in the five-rider British team by 2008 Olympic champion Nicole Cooke, Katie Colclough, Nikki Harris and Sharon Laws, the British champion.
The loss of Armitstead, Britain's first medallist of London 2012, deprives the British team of another tactical option.
Pooley added: "It's a real shame for Lizzie and for us that she's not here. She's so strong.
"I don't know how it would've been different had she been here. I think it would have been another card to play."
Pooley is seeking to respond from Tuesday's time-trial disappointment when she finished fourth.
Results, coupled with frustrations at the inequality between men's and women's cycling and the need to further her career, mean Pooley plans to take a break at the end of the season to complete her PhD in geotechnical engineering. She may also not compete in the 2013 season.
Time trial reflection
The 2010 world time-trial champion, who finished sixth on a flat Olympic course when she had hoped to improve on her 2008 silver medal, said: "I'm pretty gutted. It was almost worse than London, because the course was better for me and I was really looking forward to it and I felt quite good.
"After winning once, coming fourth is really disappointing. If I'd been fourth in Geelong (in 2010, when she won), I'd have been over the moon.
"I've only been disappointed this season because I've had better seasons. I've improved every year, pretty much."
Cooke has struggled for form since claiming an Olympic and world double in 2008, but often produces her best form on the big occasion and is confident.
"Emma's in really good form and I think we could do a really good race," Cooke said.
"It's probably not as tactical as last year's World Championships or the Olympics. It's more down to the strength of the riders coming through.
"Most of it's going to be decided on how the race develops and the course. We're all looking forward to the race."