Elite Women's cycling team Nobili Rubinetterie-Menikini-Cogeas is satisfied with how the 2005 season went. The squad finished third on the UCI team rankings behind the Buitenpoort-Flexpoint team (second) and Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung (first), and could round out its success by winning the Vuelta Ciclista Femenina a El Salvador. Three of its riders, Edita Puncinskaite, Evelyn Garcia and Sigrid Corneo placed first, second and third respectively in the final general classification.
"Yes, it went well," said team manager Walter Zini. "Olga Slyusareva confirmed as World Track champion [scratch race], and won the European Championships, too. The road victories were all on a good level. It's true that it was hard in the beginning, but then the team found its order and we began to win regularly. We were behind as Slyusareva had to take a break because of a crash, and Pucinskaite achieved her good form only later because she had surgery in winter. So this delay cut down on our victories.
"But from July on things went better," continued Zini, whose team counted 23 wins this season. "We saw some riders confirm their abilities, but also some disappointments; especially the Italians Anna Gusmini, Ombretta Ugolini and Emanuela Brigati have excellent capacities but did not succeed on the road despite a great amount of work. We expected more from Daniela Fusar Poli, but 2005 turned out to be a bad year for her. But she is maturing as an athlete and I think she will get better results next year."
Other than Olga Slyusareva's victories, seven other riders have scored top placings in road or track races: Oxana Kostenko, Silvia Valsecchi, Daniela Fusar Poli, Sigrid Corneo, Joanne Kiesanowski, Miho Oki and Edita Pucinskaite, the latter achieving ten of the team's 23 victories, including the overall Giro d'Italia Donne. She also finished the season in fifth position on the UCI road rankings.
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