By Laura Weislo
The Rock Racing team has 24 hours to get its bank guarantee to the UCI or it will not be given a license, USA Cycling confirmed Thursday. The team was a no-show at the Tour de San Luis, where it was scheduled to race this week, and word surfaced that the team had not been given its license yet.
Chief Operating Officer Sean Petty told Cyclingnews that the reason the license has not been finalized is because Rock Racing has not yet made the required bank guarantee of 10% of the riders' salaries. He said the team now has until 4PM mountain time on Friday to make the deposit or they will not be given a UCI license.
The usual deadline for Continental teams to make the deposit is at the beginning of December, but, Petty said, "for the sake of the riders, we've given them latitude, but the UCI requested that this process be finalized by tomorrow."
Should Rock Racing fail to make the deposit, the team can say goodbye to its hopes of racing the Tour of California. "The riders would still have a contract with Rock Racing, but they would not be part of a UCI registered team, which means they cannot compete in any events ranked 2.1/1.1 or higher." By UCI rules, the Tour of California, a 2.HC event, can only allow UCI teams or National teams.
The lack of a UCI license would also mean US road Champion Tyler Hamilton would not be eligible to defend his title at the US Professional championships as USA Cycling defines a professional rider as "a registered rider of a UCI Team" according to the organisation's rule book.
Regional or club teams can, by the rules, participate in some 2.2 or 1.2 events at the promoter's discretion, but Petty said that US-based UCI race promoters do not generally allow non-professional teams in their events.
Team owner Michael Ball recently dismissed rumors that his team was in imminent danger of folding, adding that he was seeking a cash sponsor, saying, "I am committed to the sport and will underwrite the team. But there is only so much that I am able to do, that I can do."
The team would be able continue without a UCI license as a USA Cycling registered elite team and contest many of the National Racing Calendar events in the USA, such as the Redlands Cycling Classic which Rock Racing won last year with Colombian Santiago Botero.