The story behind Rock Racing's 2009 roster has taken another twist, with star rider Baden Cooke being announced to ride with the new Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team. Cooke's move is another blow for Michael Ball's squad, which has been forced to fend off speculation it will close its doors in recent weeks.
"[Vacansoleil] manager Daan Luijkx is very happy," said a release from the team. "Although he is only 30 years old he has already competed in the Tour de France five times. At the moment he is making preparations of joining a new European cycling season in his home country."
Rock Racing had originally planned to register as a Professional Continental team in 2009, signing riders like Cooke to front its European efforts, however it withdrew the application as the international financial crisis worsened. In addition to Cooke, Ivan Dominguez and William Walker had both appeared on the team's original roster for 2009 but both have since been removed and signed with other squads.
Cooke spent 2008 riding for British registered Professional Continental team Barloworld, having spent the previous season largely stranded in the Unibet.com debacle. The Australian is a former Tour de France green jersey winner and has also won such events as Dwars door Vlaanderen.