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The Mexico-based Rock Racing team took the early lead in the overall team classification at the Vuelta Mexico Telmex that kicked off in Veracruz on Sunday. The amateur level elite squad is anything but that, however, fielding a fleet of former Tour de France contenders Oscar Sevilla, Victor Hugo Pena and Francisco Mancebo.
"In the end I decided to compete with Rock [Racing] at this race because I hope that it might find a sponsor," Sevilla told Cyclingnews. "We have a great group of guys and together we are leading the overall team. It is not just for the sponsor, we hope to have a very good race here with a strong team of Mancebo, Sarabia and all the guys. I hope to do well in the mountains here, maybe find some support for Rock Racing but if not, I hope to look for a team to compete with for the rest of the year."
There are 20 teams registered to participate, including Rock Racing who has registered eight riders. Four of those are Sevilla and Mancebo from Spain, Pena from Colombia and Glen Chadwick from New Zealand. The squad added Carlos Alzate from Colombia and three Mexican riders Ignacio Sarabia, Luis Fernando Macias and Juan Pablo Magallanes.
Sevilla competed for the team in 2008 and ‘09. However, this year, the International Cycling Union (UCI) denied the team the Professional Continental and Continental licenses that it requested. He now hopes of find a professional team to race for this year.
The Vuelta Mexico Telmex kicked off on April 18 in Veracruz and will conclude on April 25 in Mexico City. It is a UCI 2.2 sanctioned event that is notorious for showcasing tough terrain and lengthy stages.
"This Vuelta this very hard and has many strong riders, mainly the Colombians and the rider [Georgio] Ladino," Sevilla said. "The race is also very mountainous so, I hope to make a good position final and to win some stages. Last week I won a race in Columbia so I am feeling very good. But, I am tired from the change of schedule and traveling from Spain last week and now in America, I am traveling a lot again."
Rock Racing moved into the early lead of the overall team classification following stage one that saw its sprinter Carlos Alzate take second place behind Aldo Ino Iiesic (Team Type 1). Alzate's teammates Pablo Magallanes placed 5th, Ignacio Sarabia 6th and Sevilla 9th.
"In stage one we worked well together and one of our sprinters Alzate did well in the sprint and finished second, we are happy and we will wait for good things to follow," Sevilla said.