The future of Olympic champion Nicole Cooke’s Vision 1 team looks to be jeopardy after the remainder of this season’s race programme was cancelled. Cooke will ride in Team GB colours for the rest of the year.
The announcement from the troubled outfit is the latest blow to the squad formed less than a year ago by Cooke in conjunction with manager Stefan Wyman as a breeding ground for up-and-coming young riders.
Wyman quit in May saying he and the team had parted on “good terms” and he wished them “all the success in the world for the remainder of the season.”
Vision 1 continued despite the lack of a principal sponsor, but the team’s spokeswoman, Gayle Howells, said recent circumstances had dictated the cancellation of the team’s upcoming schedule and cast doubt over their return next season.
“Nicole has been ill, as have a couple of the other girls in the team, so that is why we have cancelled, because it is really expensive to do these races, as you can imagine” she said. “The team will carry on until the end of the season, but will require a principal sponsor to be back next year.”
Cooke is now back in Switzerland training after a virus forced her out of the Thuringen-Rundfahrt stage race. The World champion spent a few days recuperating back home in Wales and aims to be back racing at the GP Plouay World Cup round on August 22.
“I’m delighted with what Vision 1 has achieved this year, but now I am looking forward to riding with my GB team mates so we can prepare for the World Championships in Mendrisio,” said Cooke.
The team has performed well in recent months, with Cooke and Frenchwoman Christel Ferrier-Bruneau winning their respective national road championships, and Vicki Whitelaw taking the intermediate sprints jersey at the Tour de l’Aude – one of several impressive rides from the Australian this year. 18-year-old Dani King took the British circuit race championship in June to fly the flag for the younger girls at the team.
Whether these talented riders will be riding in Vision 1 colours for the rest of the year must now be in doubt, although Cooke said they have all been given individual training programmes for the remainder of the season and the team has secured rides for five of their riders in other teams for the upcoming Tour of Ardeche in September.