Emma Pooley (2nd), Kristin Armstrong (1st) and Karin Thurig (3rd)

The Olympic Woman's Time Trial: Emma Pooley (2nd), Kristin Armstrong (1st) and Karin Thurig (3rd)

Cambridge University graduate Emma Pooley of Britain claimed the silver in this year’s Woman’s Time Trial at the Beijing Olympics.

Project Pooley was set up to help build a special small bike for the 25-year-old to take glory in Beijing. But the key to her success was in the descents, where her light frame would normally be a disadvantage.

At little more than 5ft tall and weighing no more than 49kg, Pooley does not have the traditional physique of an elite cyclist.

Chris Boardman, a consultant on Project Pooley explained: “One of the first things the Project team did was analyse Pooley’s physique.  Her diminutive stature was a problem but the team built a special small-framed bike with special handlebars to help turn it to her advantage.”

“We developed a completely different bike that allowed her to make use of her very small size, which is fantastic for going up hills – but not much good for coming down, when it is about power.  The problem was, there was not a lot of proprietary equipment out there on the mainstream market that was small enough”

“So, we developed something special for her that allows her to get into that really tucked position coming down – because her advantage is that being small she doesn’t hit a lot of air.”

And all hard work and effort seems to have paid off for Pooley and the Project Team.

Pooley also played a pivotal role in teammate Nicole Cooke’s triumph on the hilly sections of the women’s road race Sunday when the Welshwoman handed Britain their first gold of the Games.

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