Former women’s world time trial champion Emma Pooley has revealed she’ll be competing in the Haute Route, the seven-stage sportive which starts in Geneva on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Londoner, who came sixth in the Olympic time trial earlier this month, heard about the Alpine event in the spring. Despite liking the look of the route, she had doubts over her participation as it clashed with several pro races that her Dutch-based team AA Drink-Leontien.nl were riding.
After getting the go-ahead from her paymasters, she says she can’t wait to make the short journey from her home in Zurich to the start line near Lake Geneva.
“I will try to race it as well as I can. I think there’ll be some very strong riders there but either way, I think it will be a lot of fun,” she said. “The philosophy and ethos of the Haute Route means that it should be welcoming and friendly to cyclists of all abilities, and that sounds perfect to me.”
With the women’s pro scene rarely venturing onto what she calls “proper” climbs, and her training for the Olympic road race and time trial revolving around hard intervals on the flat, she’s relishing the prospect of getting stuck into the 19 cols on the menu during the Haute Route.
“I live in Zürich so I always train on hills and climbs,” she added. “Whenever I can, I love to ride in the big mountains that are not far away – I love the scenery, I love climbing, I just love being in the mountains!
The Haute Route is in its second year in 2012 and will see 600 amateur and professional cyclists cycle 780km from Geneva to Nice over seven timed stages, including a time trial up Alpe d’Huez.