Olympic champion Nicole Cooke (Vision 1 Racing) will ride in the Trofeo Costa Etrusca on March 21. The Briton has already travelled to Italy where she is in a two-week training camp to prepare for her 2009 season.
Cooke will use the race as a gauge about her training, but a win would not come as a surprise. She had been victorious at the same event already three times, in 2002, 2005 and 2007. The last two victories came in a solo breakaway.
Renzo Parietti, head of the Trofeo Costa Etrusca, was delighted to have Cooke on board once again. "She seems to like our roads. She started her great 2008 season in our area as well. Nicole likes Tuscany and it is ideal for her training."
Twenty-five teams will dispute the race and there will be a full field of around 200 riders. Five national teams will take to the start. There are three individual races between March 20 and March 22. Cooke's wins came in the Premio Comuni di Riparbella-Montescudaio.
March 20: Rosignano Marittimo – Livorno, 109km
March 21: Riparbella – Montescudaio, 113km
March 22: Santa Luce – Castellina Marittima, 102km