More over at velonews.com about Rock Racing and their effervescent (and I mean it in the vivacious, gay, lively, sparkling sense of the word) check signer Michael Ball:
Less than two weeks after Ball signed a scandal-tinged Tyler Hamilton, Landis’s email address was included on an internal team message relaying details of an upcoming January 18-31 training camp in Malibu, California.
But beyond visiting the camp, Landis risks having his two-year doping suspension extended if he violates section 10.9 of the World Anti-Doping Code, which prohibits him from participating in “any capacity,” be it in competition or other activities “authorized or organized by any signatory or signatory’s member organization.”
…Reached by phone Monday, Ball discussed the status of his relationships with Landis and Andreu, confirmed signing Sevilla, and expressed surprise over rules that exclude UCI-registered continental teams from marquee events such as Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders.
…Rock Racing’s revamped 2008 roster stemmed from Ball’s interests, both marketing and sporting wise, to compete in Europe. With 2002 Milan-San Remo winner Mario Cipollini and that year’s runner up Freddie Rodriguez on staff, Ball held an outside hope for an invite to La Primavera. However team managers Haldane Morris and Mitch Sebolsky applied for UCI continental, rather than continental professional, status – likely precluding the team from the sport’s biggest events.
UCI rules dictate that continental teams cannot compete at events rated above 1.1 or 2.1. ProTour events such as Milan-San Remo are ranked 1.HC or 2.HC, above classification. Continental professional status requires an extra $150,000 in registration fees, as well as minimum rider salaries and medical monitoring expenses, but opens doors to top-tier race invitations.
When asked about the discrepancy between his stated goals and his team’s registered status, Ball seemed both indifferent and uninformed.
“No shit? Well I’ve got look into that right away,” he said with a laugh. “That would be shame if we did get invited [to ProTour caliber events] and we couldn’t go.”
And regarding Frankie Andreu’s recent departure from being the team’s director sportif:
“Frankie and I didn’t have a lot of contact with each other,” Ball said. “Obviously he wasn’t getting the nod in making decisions within this company, within this team, and that’s got to be difficult.”
“This is new to me,” Ball said. “He’s been living (cycling) his whole life. We didn’t mesh in the sense that I don’t know what a director sportif’s traditional role is.
And then he really gets rolling:
“HED left specifically because of Tyler being on the team,” Ball said. “They were giving us a full ride, and we were going to work with them and help them build their brand as much as ours.
“Nope. See ya. Gone. So be it. I’ll go out and buy that company and do my own wheels. I’ll make my own wheels. I don’t need your wheels. I’ll make better wheels. I’ll make cooler wheels, that’s for sure.”
“We just got another phone call from another sponsor who is wavering. And go! See ya. I don’t care. I’ll buy all the equipment. I’ll make my own. Next! And guess what? I’ll make it better, cooler, and I’ll take your market share. Next! If that’s the way you really feel about this sport, and it’s just an opportunity, then you shouldn’t be in the sport. There’s more to it than the opportunity. Absolutely I’m in it for the opportunity, but there is more to it. There are people, there are lives. So no, you can go and disappear, HED, but guess what? Tyler is still racing for me.”
I hope you buy the whole world.by