Today, the UCI announced the list of approved Professional Continental Teams for the 2009 season, and as earlier reported the BMC team was the only approved US team.
Rock Racing also submitted its candidature but was refused due to one or more non-conformities, and has until Friday December 5, to appeal the decision to the Management Committee of the UCI.
As pointed out by a commenter, during an interview published on November 21 with Bicycling Magazine , Rock Racing owner Michael Ball stated that the team decided to stay at the Continental level and not pursue a Pro Continental license:
“The intent was to get a Pro Continental license, but as we got closer to it and learned what it all was, the reality is that we weren’t going to get a wildcard invite to the Tours anyway. Especially with Lance coming back and racing the Giro, that’s going to be crazy. Even if we did get wild card status, with my affiliations in Europe and relationships I’ve built in Italy, I knew we weren’t going to get the pick. There’s no room at the Giro. So there wasn’t really a point.” said Michael Ball
So it seems that in the time between submitting the paperwork to USACycling and the USA to apply for a Pro Continental license and the UCI putting out an press release on the status of the teams, Rock Racing changed its mind for the 2009 season. So why bother sending in the application in the first place? Or did the UCI inform Ball prior to the interview that the team application was refused?
In the interview, Ball also states the UCI level will be looked at again for the 2010 season.