Former world TT champ to finish Ph.D. before joining Swiss team to help develop its young talent

Former world time trial champion Emma Pooley will be riding for Switzerland-based Bigla Cycling next year. It had been reported that Pooley would be taking a break from cycling to focus on her Ph.D., which she now plans to complete in the coming months.

Pooley, who was born in London and grew up in Norfolk, spent 2012 riding for the Netherlands-based AA Drink-Leontien team which folded at the end of the season. She had joined that outfit from Garmin-Cervelo, which had itself disbanded its women’s team at the end of the 2011 season.

The 30-year-old took silver in the time trial at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and won the rainbow jersey in that discipline in Geelong in 2010. In London this summer, she finished sixth in the Olympic time trial as Kristin Armstrong of the United States successfully defended her title.

Major results during 2012 include topping the GC and winning two stages in the Tour de l’Ardeche, and finishing second overall behind Marianne Vos and taking the mountains classification in the Giro Donne. Pooley had also finished second in that race in 2011.

Since Pooley’s new team is no longer registered with the UCI – after 2009, the sponsor decided to retreat from top-level sport and instead focus on developing younger talent – she won’t be riding in races of that stature in the immediate future but will instead focus on helping bring through less experienced riders within the squad.

“I’m looking forward to this new challenge and I’ll do my best to help the young riders on the Bigla team to make the step up,” commented Pooley, quoted on the British Cycling website.

“I’ve raced against a lot of them in local races in Switzerland and I can see how talented they are. We will be a force to be reckoned with in 2013! I’m very grateful to Herrn Bösch and Zimmermann for giving me this opportunity to join the Bigla team in Switzerland.

“Next year will be different for me than the last few years, because I’ll be spending the winter studying to finish my Ph.D.,” she continued. Pooley, who lives in Switzerland, is studying for her doctorate in geotechnical engineering at ETH Zurich.

“That will mean a slower start to the season,” she added. “But Bigla will give me plenty of racing opportunities, some fun new challenges, and also the freedom to focus a bit on my own goals in the time trial.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.