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 Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 12:27 GMT
Italian job for Cooke
Cooke puts pen to paper with her new team President Maurizo Fabretto
Nicole Cooke signs for her new team Acca-Due-O
Commonwealth gold medalist Nicole Cooke has signed a new deal which will see her ride for the Italian based team Acca-Due-O in 2003/04.

She hopes that the new deal will be less problematic than her relationship with her last Italian team, Deia-Pragma-Colnago.

They still owe her wages after encountering financial problems, the troubles culminating when the team seized her bike ahead of the World Road Cycling Championships in October.

But she believes that the new deal is one that will hold her in good stead for the future.

"I'm fairly confident that things won't turn out like they did last year. They are well established, have a good reputation and are much more organised than my team this year" she said.

"I almost joined them last year, and it was definitely my first choice for this coming season.

"They were ranked number one at the end of 2000, and although things didn't go quite to plan for them on 2002 they're still potentially the best.

"The best thing is they're fairly flexible, and totally behind me looking ahead to the Olympics in 2004," she added.

The team, based near Treviso in Venezia, includes former world champion Diana Ziliute and other new signing Australian Rachelle Gilmore.

"There is quite a mixture in the team. The co-leader will be Ziliute - she was the world champion in1998, has won two world cups and finished third in the Sydney Olympics," Cooke explained.

She is likely to join up with her new team mates at the start of February, with La Primavera Rosa her first big race in March, then it will be full steam ahead in her Olympic preparations.

See also:

08 Oct 02 | Wales
10 Oct 02 | Wales
12 Oct 02 | Cycling
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