By Paul Verkuylen in Xihaizhen, China
America's bad-boy team Rock Racing is planning on expanding its operation into Europe next year and will become a Professional Continental team. The squad is planning on having effectively two teams for next season, one based in Europe, the other in the USA according to team manager Haldene Morris.
"We have just re-signed Oscar Sevilla for two more years and will develop the European team around him," Morris explained. "He is still young at 31 and has a lot of spunk.
"We want to be there in the Spring Classics and the big Tours," he added. "Oscar has some good contacts with races like Catalonia and they really want to see him there."
The team is targeting races such as the Vuelta a Espana, Giro d'Italia and hopes to be granted starts in races such as Paris-Tours, Tour de Suisse, the Dauphine Libere.
"We are in the process of signing five more riders, but we have already signed David Vittoria who is Oscar Sevilla's protégé in Spain," he said.
With contracts not yet signed Morris was reluctant to divulge the names. "Two are Australians, one is Spanish another American and the last I can't say because if I told you his name, you would guess," he said.
The team will target some more riders for the National Racing Calendar events in America and give them a chance throughout the season to race in Europe, should they show potential. In addition to its contract with Sevilla, Rock Racing has Tyler Hamilton onboard for another two years. Victor Hugo Pena has one year remaining on his contract, while Santiago Botero's contract is up for re-negotiation after the Olympic Games in August.