Controversial American squad Rock Racing will make its first appearance in the UK this September, as Tour of Britain organisers announced that the team will ride the 2008 race. The Los Angeles based Continental outfit, backed by clothing company Rock & Republic and its outspoken owner Michael Ball, are the 12th team to be confirmed for this year's race after recent announcements by Team Columbia and Barloworld.
According to a press release from race organisers issued on Wednesday, Rock Racing's provisional line-up will include sprinter Fred Rodriguez, former Tour de France yellow jersey Victor Hugo Peña and Tyler Hamilton. They will be supported by world team pursuit champion Peter Dawson and the in-form Rahsaan Bahati.
Despite the team's somewhat rebellious reputation, Tour of Britain technical director Mick Bennett was pleased with the addition. "We're delighted to be able to confirm Rock Racing for this year's race," said Bennett. "The team will no doubt be bringing the same glamour and rock and roll feel to The Tour of Britain that they have been doing to races in America so far this season.
"I'm also sure that they will make a fantastic addition from a racing point of view," he added, "as they have a number of riders who should be able to win stages and possibly compete for the overall classification."
Race organisers are still to announce the remaining four teams who will start this year's event. Besides the high-profile ProTour teams, domestic squads Rapha-Condor-Recycling, Plowman Craven and Pinarello RT have been confirmed on the start list. The 2008 route has been extended with the addition of an extra day, and will start in London on September 7 before heading to Glasgow before heading back south to finish in Liverpool on September 14.