Equipe Noris Cycling is preparing to make its season debut Sunday at the UCI Women's World Cup race, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. The team is the former Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, starting this year without a title sponsor.
Nürnberger Versicherung announced last year that it would end its sponsorship at the end of 2009. Team management found a new sponsor in Skyter GmbH, a yacht-leasing firm, but in December the firm backed out of the deal.
The team decided to continue without a title sponsor under the name Noris Cycling. Two of the team's top signings, Olympic champion Nicole Cooke and former World time trial champion Amber Neben, have left the team due to the financial problems.
“After all the turbulence of the last months, things are actually happening,” said team manger Herbert Oppelt. “The girls are highly motivated and looking forward to the first race.”
“Our riders showed their strength of character and held true to us after we lost the sponsor we thought we had. We will do all we can to keep attractive and doping-free women's cycling alive in Nürnberg.”
The team's first race under its new name is the World Cup Trofeo Alfredo Binda Sunday, March 28, in Italy. “Of course it will be very hard to be at the front in the very first race,” admitted Jochen Dornbusch, the team's Directeur Sportif.
“In Trixi Worrack and sprinter Angela Hennig we have two strong riders who can win a first-class one-day race. But it will be hard for everyone without one single race kilometre in their legs. It will no doubt take a while before we really get going.”
Worrack and Hennig will be supported by Marlen Jöhrend, Bianca Purath, Romy Kasper and Jennifer Hohl.
The Trofeo Alfredo Binda runs 120 kilometres with start and finish in Cittiglio, Varese, Italy. It has been run since 1974, making it the oldest one-day women's race.