Women's World Cup 2011 kicks off on Sunday

Pooley, Cooke, Johansson, Women's Fleche Wallonne 2010

The 2011 UCI Women's World Cup series kicks off at the weekend, with the Trofeo Alfredo Binda in Italy on Sunday (March 27).

Nicole Cooke was the first British rider to win Trofeo Alfredo Binda in 2005 and went on to win it again in 2007.

Reigning Olympic road race champion Cooke is hoping to kick off her 2011 campaign with a good performance at this year's opening World Cup round for her new MCipollini-Giambenini squad.

"I know the course well. I'm fairly happy where I'm at, and our team is ready for any kind of scenario. I'm already feeling the benefit since joining them," Cooke told Cycling Weekly

Cooke isn't the only Brit to have triumphed in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervelo) won in 2008. Last year, Pooley won two rounds of the season-long World Cup competition - the women's Fleche Wallonne in April and GP Plouay in August.

Both Cooke and Pooley have already got their racing seasons into gear, placing fifth and 10th respectively at the Trofeo Costa Etrusca in Italy last weekend (March 20).

Pooley finished eighth overall in the 2010 World Cup series, won by Marianne Vos of the Netherlands. Cooke finished in 10th spot.

UCI Women's World Cup 2011 (and last year's winners)

March 27 Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio (Italy) - Marianne Vos (Netherlands)

April 3 Ronde van Vlaanderen (Belgium) - Grace Verbeke (Belgium)

April 16 Ronde van Drenthe (Netherlands) - Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands)

April 20 La Flèche Wallonne Féminine (Belgium) - Emma Pooley (Great Britain)

May 15 Tour of Chongming Island World Cup (China) - Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany)

June 5 GP Ciudad de Valladolid (Spain) - Charlotte Becker (Germany)

July 29 Open de Suède Vargarda TTT (Sweden) - Cervelo Test Team

July 31 Open de Suède Vargarda (Sweden) - Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)

August 27 GP de Plouay-Bretagne (France) - Emma Pooley (Great Britain)

Related links

Cooke to spearhead MCipollini team

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