Really, what the #$&% is Rock Racing doing? (updated)

Posted on 08. Dec, 2008 by in news

Back in mid-November, Rock Racing sent out a press release announcing its new 2009 roster which consisted  of 25 riders, and of those riders, 11 are under the magic age of 28.   As the UCI and USA Cycling rules clearly state a US Continental team must have at a maximum of 20 riders and that the majority of riders shall be aged under 28 years, this begged the question: What is Rock Racing doing?

I then asked the followup question “Is there going to be a Team Rock team again?” Well, we received a resounding yes today when USA Cycling announced the 2009 Men’s Continental teams which included Rock Racing.

The 2009 Continental Rock Racing roster, made up of 17 riders with 9 athletes under the age of 28, is:  Alex Boyd (USA), Baden Cooke (AUS), Freddy Cruz (USA), Ivan Dominguez (CUB), Jose Enrique Gutierrez (ESP), Tyler Hamilton (USA), Sergio Hernandez (USA), Sterling Magnell (USA), Francisco Mancebo (ESP), Victor Hugo Pena (COL), Fred Rodriguez (USA), Nicholas Sanderson (AUS), Oscar Sevilla (ESP), David Tanner (AUS), David Vitoria (SUI), William Walker (AUS), Justin Williams (USA).

But  what about all the other riders that were announced by Rock Racing? Where are they going? The answer seems to be ‘Team Rock’, a club team. Which means that riders on Team Rock cannot race UCI-sanctioned races such as Tour of California and all races on the USA Cycling Professional Tour or the US Pro Championships.

The riders moved to this club team include current US Criterium Champion Rahsaan Bahati, two-time US Time Trial  Champion Chris Baldwin, Olympian Glen Chadwick winner of  the Tour of Arkansas and Vuelta Mexico stage races in 2008, Mexican National Time Trial Champion Chepe Garcia, Caleb Manion, Austin Carroll, Michael Creed who finished in the  top 10 at the US Time Trial Championships the past three years, Danny Finneran, Cesar Grajales, and Ian Moir.

USA Cycling Andy Lee told velonews that Bahati would not be able to defend his US Crit Championship as the race is only open to UCI trade teams.  To clarify following a comment – unless Bahati somehow joins the UCI team prior to the US Crit Championship held in August.

The only way for the riders to race UCi events is to transfer to the Continental team after June 1, 2009 which is allowed by the rules. (updated: the UCI rules clearly state that the only period that a non UCI rider can join a UCI team  is  June 1, 2009 to June 25, 2009 . Any changes will require a new audit and review process. And the team must still follow the maximum rider rule unless USA Cycling agrees to an exception).

The scuttlebutt on the street is that the riders only found out today that they were not on the UCI Continental team roster, via the velonews article, no email nor phonecall from the team. Bahati’s re-posted the velonews article using the title “This has brought tears to my eyes“.

No official press release from the team yet to explain the decision.

update:  Bahati’s comment on his blog:

“I feel happy that I had this opportunity to race as a pro with Rock Racing. I created some great memories and found great friends for life. Unfortunately Rock Racing doesn’t realize that you can’t swap guys in and out or move guys around all year long as it was explained to me. And even if you could, why should I be subjected to that? I won more races than anyone on the team this year, and I expected to be treated like one of the best.

I pray that everything works out because I enjoyed racing for MB.”

And a final question (raised by guidemd). Australian William Walker who was not on the first press release but is now listed on the Continental team roster  has also been linked in the press to the new Fuji- Servetto team. Is he really joining Rock Racing? Or did someone mess up…. again?

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12 Responses to “Really, what the #$&% is Rock Racing doing? (updated)”

  1. MavicMoto

    09. Dec, 2008

    The missing ten:

    Chris Baldwin
    Glen Chadwick,
    José Manuel “Chepe” Garcia
    Caleb Manion
    Rahsaan Bahati
    Austin Carroll
    Michael Creed
    Danny Fineran
    Cesar Grajales
    Ian Moir

    These guys are going to be pissed! Creed because he busts his ass for the team. Chady and Baldwin because this isn’t what they signed up for and Rashaan won’t be able to defend.

    I have no idea how they will get out of this pickle.

  2. Anonymous

    09. Dec, 2008

    USA Cycling Andy Lee told velonews that Bahati would not be able to defend his HS Crit Championship as the race is only open to UCI trade teams. The only way for the riders to race UCi events is to transfer to the Continental team after June 1, 2009 which is allowed by the rules.

    Isn’t the Crit championship in August? So how can he not defend? Won’t they just move him over to the other team by then? Doesn’t make sense.

  3. MavicMoto

    09. Dec, 2008

    Lynn
    You have written pieces on Creed and Chadwick. Still have their cell #s?
    I have to believe rock has badly miss-judged the license issue again. i.e. Conti does not allow you to do the things you want, Conti Pro does.
    It couldn’t cost but an extra $200,000 more. Hell, RR paid double that to race half a team in last years Amgen ToC.

  4. gavia

    09. Dec, 2008

    Pretty sure the William Walker to Fuji-Servetto dealio is confirmed. The Italian press certainly reported it that way.

    But eh, sometimes they lie.

  5. jza

    09. Dec, 2008

    With the size of this team, it’s ridiculous they haven’t figured this kind of stuff out.

    In a sport like cycling in the US, the line between pro and weekend warrior is so thin, every pro rider is aware of how precarious their job is. Especially this year.

    Rock can’t be dicking around with these riders’ livelihood and expect to win big races. Huge drain on morale.

    Pulling stuff like this is also going to look really bad in promoters’ eyes, so good luck on getting into those European races.

  6. Anonymous

    09. Dec, 2008

    Anonymous-

    There are still rules for moving riders over to the pro team after July. You still have to keep within young rider and total roster size limits. For Bahati to race pro crit, they would have to add him, but also demote one old rider down to the club team

  7. Anonymous

    09. Dec, 2008

    The information I have is that the deal for William Walker with Fuji has fallen through…..also look for another Australian rider to be added to Rock racing if he signs the contract he’s been offered

  8. gavia

    10. Dec, 2008

    A deal with Gianetti falling through?

    Inconceivable ;-)

    Thanks for the info.

  9. Lyne

    10. Dec, 2008

    funny g.

    another australian rider? a few to choose from,

  10. guidemd

    10. Dec, 2008

    the “team press release” posted by Velonews today about Dominguez still lists Will Walker as a Fuji-Servetto rider (unless someone neglected to mention to their PR person that the deal with him had fallen through ;-) ).

  11. guidemd

    12. Dec, 2008

    there’s an Australian article today that mentions Walker going to Fuji-Servetto and that he was really close to signing with Rock – mind you, it doesn’t actually have any direct quotes from Walker.

  12. Anonymous

    14. Dec, 2008

    Creed has to be pissed off at this point, especially after finding out by reading a Velonews release. He busted ass last year for Sevilla, Hamilton, Bortero. Killed himself at Tour of China for Tyler and made practically every break at Tour of Missouri and the break at National championships. Top 6 at National TT and made it through the TOC with a stomach bug from stage 1 that saw 50+ other riders pack it in. He didn’t quit and finished a very respectable 4th on the last stage. Creed, Baldwin, Chadwick, Manion, and Grajales are top notch pros that deserve better treatment than this BS way of running a team. Someone really screwed this up big time. Seems to be different stories on what happened. MB claims he elected to stay Continental and Cyclingnews reported their application was rejected along with several other teams for Continental Pro status.
    The UCI was allowing teams to appeal their rejection, but Rock Racing didn’t want to bother. Hope things work out for these guys, but it doesn’t look promising.