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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Managers still hoping Cooke and Neben will continue with cut-down team
Team Cycling Noris will be in the women's peloton on 2010. That is the new name of the former Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, still searching for a sponsor but continuing through private financing at the moment. However, the team is uncertain of the continued presence of Olympic Champion Nicole Cooke and former World Champion Amber Neben.
“Noris” is based on a late medieval version of the Latin name for the city of Nürnberg, Noricum.
It is only a temporary solution, but one which will allow team manager - and current backer - Herbert Oppelt to register his team with the International Cycling Union this week and put it on the road this season. It will be a basic team with minimal expenses and a vastly-reduced racing schedule.
Nürnberger Versicherung ended its sponsorship of the team at the end of 2009, and plans for Skyter GmbH to take over collapsed in December.
The team is still looking for a name sponsor, and Oppelt is hoping for help from a north German consortium. He could not find any additional funding in the Nürnberg region. “We were unable to find any support there.”
In addition, Oppelt and his co-manager, son Alexander, will be helping the team from their private funds. “After the team swore its loyalty to us, we had to continue supporting them,” he told the Nürnberger Zeitung.
Discussions with potential sponsors are continuing, “but at least now we have won some time, that the is the most important thing.” The UCI has already approved the team to start, but the team will not be able to race the Tour of Qatar, as was hoped.
The squad is also facing the loss of its two biggest-name riders, Nicole Cooke, who only signed in autumn of last year, and Amber Neben. “We have sent Nicole a new offer and very much hope that she will stay,” Oppelt said of the Beijing Olympic and 2008 World road champion. Cooke had previously indicated that she wanted to stay and was attempting to help find sponsorship.
He said that he had not heard from Neben as to her plans.
Neither Neben nor Cooke responded to Cyclingnews' requests for comment on the situation.