NICOLE COOKE FORMS NEW BRITISH PRO TEAM
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World and Olympic champion Nicole Cooke is set to create a new team called Vision1 Racing with Stefan Wyman.
The team has evolved out of Wyman's Swift Racing squad. Cooke guested for Swift Racing at the Grande Boucle stage race in France in the build-up to the Olympics when British Cycling decided not to send Halfords Bikehut.
The news will come as a blow to the string of top professional teams hoping to capture the 25-year-old after the disbanding of the women's Halfords Bikehut squad ? including the German Nurnberger squad, who today revealed they had been in talks with Cooke.
Cooke said: "?I feel very fortunate to have had such fantastic support from a few key people during 2008 who have worked with me in a professional way to help me achieve my best possible results.
"Having achieved my dreams in cycling I now feel it is time to give something back to the sport and believe that by helping to develop the next generation of talented riders we can make Britain one of the strongest nations in cycling by 2012.
"I was impressed with the professional and motivated attitude to racing and development of riders shown by Swift Racing when racing with them at the Grande Boucle this year. I was also very impressed by Stefan Wyman's management skills and his attitude to developing riders and team spirit.
"I think that by taking the best of both of our resources we can create a team structure that can make talented British riders part of the strongest team in women?s cycling by 2012."
Wyman said: "I wish to build a team made up of mainly young British riders who could form part of the strongest British road team ever for the 2012 Olympics in London.
"However, due to the lack of experienced road racers in Britain the team will have a number of experienced international riders showing and setting a good example for the younger riders to follow.
"My immediate plans now are to invest a huge amount of time on getting the right people around this team in terms of staff, sponsors and advisors. This could take a long time, but will be crucial in our long term success."
The team will have an international race programme but there are no details of that, or the rest of the team's roster yet.
Earlier today (Thursday) the manager of the Nurnberger pro team, Herbert Oppelt, told CW that he had been in discussions with Cooke.
The women's Halfords Bikehut team is coming to an end after the successful season-long project designed to help Cooke to Olympic and World Championship glory.
The rest of the Halfords Bikehut riders could continue racing for Great Britain, although there may now be an opportunity with the Vision1 Racing team.
Meanwhile, CW understands that British riders Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws are on the verge of signing for the Cervélo Lifeforce team. Pooley, the Olympic time trial silver medallist, rode for Specialized for Women this season but that team is stopping. Laws joined Halfords Bikehut in the spring after shooting to prominence with second place in the Australian road race championships. [Updated 17.10.08 ? Laws has several options to consider, including Cervélo].
GB cyclists take centre stage at Olympic parade
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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.
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