Nicole Cooke is to join a new Italian professional cycling team backed by MCipollini bikes and the Giordana clothing company, aside from Cooke the Mcipollini-Giordana team will have two other former women's road world champions on its books, Marta Bastianelli and Tatiana Guderzo, team also has current junior world champion Rossella Callovi on its books too.
"I'm thrilled to be part of this team which has big ambitions over the coming years," said Cooke after the announcement that she would be joining the team.
"The mixture of riders helps us to be competitive in all styles of races... and I'm looking forward to riding together with all the girls."
However the inclusion of Bastianelli in the team so soon after her return to the sport following a two year ban for testing positive for the stimulant flenfluramine is likely to prove controversial in some quarters and given Cooke's own outspoken comments about doping and dopers in cycling should make for an interesting first team meeting. In an echo of a more recent high profile case Bastianelli claimed that she had unkowingly consumed the stimulant in a diet product.
Cooke's move back in to a professional team ends what by her standards has been a relatively quiet period in the current Olympic Champion's career following the collapse of her Vision 1 racing team which has seen her racing under British Cycling colours since August last year. In that time she has been eclipsed to some extent on both the domestic and international stages by Emma Pooley who earlier this year beat Cooke at the national championships bringing to an end the 27 year-olds nine year winning streak.
Cooke enjoyed a number of successful years riding for Italian teams at the start of her professional career and women's professional cycling and she will no doubt be hoping that her return will help her re-capture the form that has helped her dominate the women's road racing over the last few years. Those MCipollini bikes should help too.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.