Rock Racing Team Manager Michael Ball is dealing with the negative impact on his team following the suspension of his rider, Kayle Leogrande, by the USA anti-doping agency. The Continental team based in the USA, known for contracting riders linked to doping investigations, confirmed Leogrande will not be on the 2009 roster.
"Whenever a rider is suspended – be it for doping or any disciplinary issue – it brings negative attention to the sport that so many of us are working hard to cast in a positive light," said Ball in a press release.
The anti-doping agency banned Leogrande for two years after it established he used EPO (Erythropoietin) in the 2007 Superweek series, a race where he won three stages. He continued to race through 2007 and 2008 with Rock Racing despite an ongoing investigation.
"In Kayle's case, knowing that several of the sport's governing bodies were also conducting their own investigations, we felt it was not appropriate to prevent him from racing until a verdict was reached. USA Cycling and the UCI [International Cycling Union] did not deny him the right to race."
Ball confirmed that Leogrande will not be on the 2009 team roster, but said the decision was performance based and not due to the doping case.