Coming off one of her best seasons to date, Great Britain's current world and Olympic road champion Nicole Cooke announces the formation of the Vision 1 Racing team.
The team will be made up from the support staff that helped guide Cooke, 25, to Olympic and World Championship gold in 2008, and Stefan Wyman formerly of Swift Racing, bringing together a motivated team to build on Cooke’s vision for the future.
"I feel very fortunate to have had such fantastic support from a few key people during 2008 who have worked with me in a profession way to help me achieve my best possible results," Cooke said. "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," she added. "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."
Vision1 Racing will be managed by Wyman - currently of Swift Racing - who added: "It’s something I have hoped would happen ever since the Grand Boucle. Nicole and I have a very similar vision for the future of women’s cycle sport in the UK. I’m excited about 2009 to see what we can achieve. I want Nicole to be involved as much as possible in all areas of this team and for us to benefit from her experience."
According to Cooke, Team Vision 1 Racing will be at least a four-year programme with the focus on preparation, performance and development of talented riders, not just on results.
"Our racing will provide all our riders with the opportunity to learn and progress to the top of women’s road racing in steps, with each rider’s individual needs are catered for within our team," she said. "Races we will be targeting include local races, World Cup Races, National and World Championships, Commonwealth and Olympic Games."
For 2009, Wyman hopes 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. He added, 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," Wyman said. "This could take a long time, but will be crucial in our long term success."
No word on which bike or component sponsors are on board yet. Cooke won the women's Olympic road race and the world road championship with a SRAM Red- and Ritchey-equipped Boardman, wearing Nike shoes clipped into Speedplay pedals.
"We hope to create an environment for the young riders to be able to learn and adapt to people of different backgrounds and cultures, helping to increase their acceptance into the women’s peleton as our British riders have more and more links to riders from other teams and countries," Cooke added. "Our focus will be on building up a team spirit with a professional attitude to preparation, training and racing in an environment that also helps the riders develop as people. I feel this balance between enjoying life and their racing will be crucial to helping the riders get the most from their sport."
More news on the team's Racing Calendar for 2009 will be announced soon along with the first details of the rider roster for 2009.