Cooke turns tutor but lacks financial backing
OLYMPIC gold medallist Nicole Cooke insists her new grass roots cycling team will prove a hit on the international circuit despite lacking a sponsor.
ROAD RUNNER: Olympic champion Cooke on the way to a historic double (Getty Images)
The reigning Olympic and world road race champion has been unable to attract financial backing for Vision1 Racing which aims to develop the best young British talent.
After Halfords pulled their sponsorship of Cooke's then team Halford-Bikehuts, the 25-year-old Welsh wizard was left high and dry.
And having turned down the chance to go overseas and cash in on her talents, Cooke refuses to be downhearted despite the coffers being empty.
"When the season finished I had the choice of finding a lucrative contract with a foreign team," said Cooke.
"But because I wanted to work with the young British girls, the only option I had really was to form my own British team because nothing like that already exists.
"We're looking for sponsors who want to be a part of it and share in our philosophy of investing in the future.
"We're going forward, maybe it will be on a smaller scale next year but we've got all the basics covered then, that's the most important thing."
"That's the situation that we're in and I hope that by leading by example and showing them I really believe in this, that I really believe in them.
"It's the first step in creating the team spirit that will help us through hard times during the races."
"We'll help them make themsleves the champions we believe they can be."
Olympic and world champion Nicole Cooke
Cooke, who received nominations for both the British and Welsh Sports Personality of the Year awards, has already earmarked her young crop as champions of London 2012.
And the queen of the road remains confident, despite the economic crisis, it will not be long before sponsors are knocking on her door.
"I think it's a fantastic project - first of all the chance to work with the young British girls and to try to teach them and get them really in the right races and in the right environment so they can learn and progress as good as they can," she added.
"I hope that every step that we take will bring us closer to having one of the strongest ever teams in London 2012.
"It's not so easy to take riders when they're still young and haven't really got to the limit of their talent.
"But we'll help them make themselves the champions we believe they can be."