Cooke to spearhead MCipollini-Giordana team
Nicole Cooke wins the world championship road race in 2008
Reigning Olympic champion Nicole Cooke is set to lead a new Italian team for 2011.
Sponsored by MCipollini bikes and leading clothing brand Giordana, former world champions Marta Bastianelli and Tatiana Guderzo join Cooke as team leaders.
Bastianelli recently completed a two-year suspension after testing positive for banned stimulant flenfluramine at the European U23 championships in the summer of 2008.
The team's eleven-strong roster also includes former junior world champion Rossella Callovi and Italian champion Monica Baccaille.
27 year old Cooke has been without a professional squad since August of last year, when the Vision1 team collapsed. The 2008 world champion was dealt another blow when the German Skyter team she had been set to join backed out last December.
Cooke has spent the season racing with the Great Britain national team. It has been a quiet year considering her past success.
Her only win was a stage of the Bira. She finished second to Emma Pooley at the Fleche Wallonne, and also relinquished her nine year winning streak at the national championships to the Cervelo rider.
Cooke went on the attack in the closing stages of the world championship road race in Melbourne, eventually finishing fourth.
Cooke wins Emakumeen-Bira stage
Uncertainty surrounds Cooke's Skyter team
Rider profile: Nicole Cooke