A commenter on a previous post raised a very interesting question:
Rock looks to be facing some difficulties though with ages and numbers. Can anyone figure out how their roster will work as a continental team?
According to cyclingnews, Rock Racing is registering as a Continental team for 2009, which means that they must follow the new UCI rule which not only mandates the minimum (8) and maximum (16) number of riders in a team but specifies that the majority of riders must be under the age of 28. The UCI does allow that, with the consent of the national federation, a team can include a number of additional riders specialising in other cycling disciplines (e.g. track, cyclo-cross, mountain bike) on condition that the riders in question have figured in the top 150 places of the UCI individual classification of the discipline. (phew) But wait, USA Cycling specifies that only 4 of these additional riders can be added to a team which would bring the we-really-mean-it maximum number of riders to 20, with a majority of riders under the age of 28.
Let’s take a closer look at Rock Racing. With the riders that have been linked to the 2009 roster, I don’t see how the team can meet this rule. Assuming that Rahsaan Bahati (27), Mike Creed (28), Cesar Grajales (37), Tyler Hamilton (38), Victor Hugo Peña (35), Oscar Sevilla (33), Chris Baldwin (34), Ivan Dominguez (33), Chepe Garcia (37), Caleb Manion (28), Francisco Mancebo (33), Jose Enrique Gutierrez (35) and Justin Williams (20) are with the team next year, only 2 riders, Bahati and Williams fit the bill. Even if 3 more road riders and 4 specialist, all under the age of 28, are added, it still gives only 9 riders under the age of 28, and not the needed magic number of 11. So either Rock Racing gets an exception or someone on the list is not with Rock Racing.
Interestingly, last year the rule was different as the number of additional riders was not specified, which Toyota-United used to its advantage. Officially, the team had 23 riders but only 14 riders could be considered as part of the core team and of those, only 3 – Manion, Jonny Clarke and Dominique Rollin - were under the age of 28 at the start of 2008.