- Article published:
- February 16, 2008, 0:00 GMT
- Kirsten Frattini
By Kirsten Robbins Michael Ball, the owner of the Rock Racing team, called a press conference on...
Team owner, Michael Ball, says 'administrative glitch' by race organiser omitted key riders
By Kirsten Robbins
Michael Ball, the owner of the Rock Racing team, called a press conference on Saturday to discuss the team's unconfirmed start for the Tour of California, which set to kick off on Sunday, February 17, with the downtown prologue in Palo Alto.
After much speculation, Ball was able to confirm the appearance in California of Italian super-sprinter, Mario Cipollini, who has come out of retirement to ride for the emerging USA team. Indeed, Cipollini is definitely in California and has been seen training with his team-mate Santiago Botero.
Ball said Rock Racing's roster for the eight-stage, eight-day international stage race consists of Cipollini (Ita), Botero (Col), Michael Creed (USA), Tyler Hamilton (USA), Doug Ollerenshaw (USA), Victor Hugo Peña (Col), Freddie Rodriguez (USA) and Oscar Sevilla (Spa). Mariano Friedrick and Haldane Morris are to direct the team.
However, the event owner, AEG, had only posted a roster that was missing three of the eight riders Ball had registered. These include also the Spaniard Oscar Sevilla, Santiago Botero and Tyler Hamilton were the omitted riders, possibly due to their alleged involvement with the recently re-opened Operación Puerto investigation.
What remains unclear is the status of the Rock Racing team in the ToC should the organisers hold firm and prevent Botero, Hamilton and Sevilla from starting. A ToC press conference being attended by representatives from AEG is currently underway and Cyclingnews will provide an update as soon as it is finished.
Ball said he hoped the omission of those three riders was simply an 'administrative glitch'. He said the three have all received clearance from their respective national federations that they are not the subject of any current investigations and...