British rider returns to top flight racing after focusing on PhD

Emma Pooley is to return to top-flight racing in 2014 after signing for Belgian outfit, Lotto-Belisol.

The 31-year-old former world time trial champion has raced sporadically during 2013 for non-UCI registered Swiss team Bigla Cycling Team, and won a stage as well as the overall in the Tour Languedoc Rousillon.

The former Cambridge University triathlon and cross-country blue also won the Swissman Xtreme Triathlon this year.

Pooley's prime focus this year has been on finishing her PhD in geotechnical engineering at ETH in Zurich, where she lives.

However, she has also found time to promnote the campaign calling on ASO to run a women's Tour de France.

Pooley teamed up with Marianne Vos, Kathryn Bertine and the triathlete, Chrissie Wellington to launch a petition which has now gained almost 100,000 signatures.

She took Olympic silver in the time trial at Beijing in 2008 and in 2010 won the rainbow jersey in the discipline in Melbourne.

That latter season also saw her win both the British time trial and road championships - the latter breaking the dominance of Nicole Cooke, who had won the previous nine editions.

News of Pooley's signing was confirmed on the Lotto-Belisol Ladies Twitter feed yesterday with the message: " Bull's Eye! Welcome to the team @PooleyEmma!"

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.