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Michael Ball runs Rock
Possible federal investigation of doping on the team
Michael Ball, owner of Rock Racing Team, is named in a sealed federal search warrant, according to the New York Daily News. The Food and Drug Administration is said to be investigating the possible use of performance-enhancing drugs use by members of the team.
Rock Racing Team existed from 2007 to 2009 as a Continental or Professional Continental team. Ball hired many riders who had been suspended for doping or had been associated with doping, such as Tyler Hamilton, Oscar Sevilla and Santiago Botero. The team was known for its “bad boy” image.
This year the team announced that it would seek a Continental license from the International Cycling Union as a Mexican team, and said that it had signed Floyd Landis. The UCI refused to grant the team any licence at all, and Landis dissolved his contract. It is now operating as an amateur team.
It is not immediately clear whether the search warrant is connected to the FDA's investigation stemming from Landis' recent claims of doping within the peloton. However, FDA investigator Jeff Novitzky, who conducted the BALCO investigation and is said to be leading the Landis investigation, helped obtain the search warrant, the newspaper claims.
The New York Daily news further claims that the government's interest in Ball predates the Landis investigation.
Ball has consistently said that his team rides clean. "I was in the sport for three years and I saw what went on," Ball said. "But not on my team, because I wouldn't allow it."