Cantele ready for new season with Columbia-HTC

Noemi Cantele is known in the professional women's peloton as “Little Crazy Horse” for her early attacks. The Italian time trial champion will continue her trademark early escapes in her first year with new team Columbia-HTC in 2010, a team whose attitude she says, “I really like and admire.”

Cantele, 28, turned pro in 2002 and rode for Team Bigla for five years. She was the most successful woman at this year's World Championships in Mendrisio, winning silver in the time trial and bronze in the road race. She also won the Italian national women's time trial title in 2009.

“I'm a very restless sort of person, so I guess by now almost everybody's seen me charge off the front in the first couple of hours,” she said on her new team's website.

The native of Varese, Italy, started riding when she was only two and could barely reach the pedals. “Then when I was nine, what inspired me even more to take up racing was seeing [Italian champion] Gianni Bugno winning the uphill time trial [and the overall classification] in the Tour of Italy."

Her two biggest career wins are in the GP Ouest Plouay World Cup race, the first in 2005 and a second title in 2007. This year she brought in four victories, but admitted to being surprised at her success in time trials this year. “I never used to like them. They ask for a lot of self-control for an aggressive rider like me," she said.

"In the last year or so I've changed my training and things have got a lot better in the time trials,” Cantele continued. “But if anybody had told me I'd get the silver medal in the World Championships, I'd never have believed them!"

After five years with the Swiss team Bigla, she is ready for her move to Columbia. "[The team has] the right values for our sport in all sorts of ways. They win races, they have a lot of fun and they're very united as a squad. They have an attitude toward racing that I really like and admire."

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