Cooke confirmed with T-Mobile

T-Mobile have confirmed that they are widening their scope by setting up an international elite wome

T-Mobile have confirmed that they are widening their scope by setting up an international elite wome


Leading British rider Nicole Cooke has been confirmed as one of the team leaders in T-Mobile's new international elite women's team. As well as 2004 Giro d'Italia winner Cooke, the team that has been developed from the number one-ranked US domestic squad will also feature 2004 world champion Judith Arndt.

"It was the right time for me to make a change," says 2004 Olympic silver medallist Arndt. "T-Mobile have offered me a great opportunity and I am looking forward to the challenge."

A women's team has competed in the UCI International Calendar, since 2002, under the name T-Mobile Professional Cycling Team. Under the management of the High Road Sports the team raced primarily in the United States, representing local subsidiary T-Mobile US. Over the next three years, the team - like the men's equivalent - will be based in Bonn, Germany, and play an important role in the international firm's cycling programme.

"Our goal is to nail down a top position in the UCI-World ranking list," says the team's sporting director Andrzej Bek. "For that, we will target both one-day Classics and international stage races," adds Bek, who is looking forward to "sending rosters of world class riders into action at major races." Among those riders are Germany's Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (31, six-time Tour de France stage winner) and Britain's Nicole Cooke, 22, the silver medallist in at this year's Worlds in Madrid.

T-Mobile spokesman Luuc Eisenga said of Cooke's arrival: "Nicole is one of the best female riders at the moment and we think she can be a role model for other cyclists."

"In terms of identity, we won't draw any lines," said Reinhard Plckthun, vice-president of sponsoring at T-Mobile International. "There is only one T-Mobile Team, and now that consists of a men's and a women's team. We have always insisted that our sponsorship engagement is extensive and long term. This latest expansion is a logical step that underpins the consistent approach we take to our sponsorship activities."

Britons Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas and Kristian House are already on the T-Mobile roster as part of the German team's development programme.

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