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.
road.cc's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.