Friday, September 12, 2008

Rock Racing to Fuji for 2009

Rock Racing to Fuji for 2009?
By James Huang
Fuji designed this special edition SL-1 Photo ©: Fuji Bicycles

While much of the professional peloton seems to be playing musical chairs in terms of bike sponsorship for the coming season, Michael Ball’s Rock Racing team has toyed with more bike brands this season on its own then many retail shops carry on their shelves.
Rock Racing spent the ’07 season on Scott bicycles and then made a very brief switch to Look before ultimately settling with DeRosa for ’08. However, according to Rock Racing team manager Haldene Morris, the agreement isn’t with DeRosa directly but rather with US importer Trialtir and only covers a specific number of bikes. As such, the team doesn’t have as many DeRosas as it’d like and team riders have been spotted on a variety of non-DeRosa machines this year including Scott, Look and even Cannondale (former rider Mario Cipollini supplied his own custom frames made by a favored builder in Italy). Most notably, Rock Racing’s Tyler Hamilton even won this year’s USA Pro national road title not with the team-issue DeRosa, but on a Fuji SL-1 instead.
Meanwhile, Rock Racing’s Tour of Missouri squad was spotted aboard a brand-new Fuji time trial machine. We’re sure to get more information on this decidedly swoopy model at Interbike but suffice to say there are a number of intriguing features including a reverse-mounted front brake and fully-shrouded rear plus an integrated seatmast mechanism similar to that of Trek’s new Madone.
According to Fuji Bikes marketing and communications manager Karen Bliss, the unofficial pairing of Fuji and Rock Racing dates as far back as the Commerce Bank Triple Crown (better known as ‘Philly Week’). Freddy Rodriguez had apparently crashed and broken his DeRosa the day before the men’s pro road race and the team didn’t have a proper spare.
Coincidentally though, Fuji happened to be located in Philadelphia and Bliss already had a connection with the team. "I knew his mechanic from the old days and he knew that I was working with Fuji", she said. After a couple of quick phone calls, Rodriguez had a Fuji SL-1 at the ready. As it turns out, Rodriguez ended up using team-mate Oscar Sevilla’s spare for the race but the wheels were already in motion, so to speak.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Racing: Arena Mountain-X in Las Vegas

Racing: Arena Mountain-X in Las Vegas
Featuring Top Riders:Current World 4X Champ Rafael Alvarez, Dale Holmes, Eric Carter, Chris Kovarik,Rich Houseman , Brian Lopes, Carter Holland, Kirt Voreis, and many more...
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Monday, September 8, 2008

Lance Armstrong come back

Sources: Lance Armstrong coming back
By Neal Rogers
Armstrong at Leadville last month
Lance Armstrong will come out of retirement next year to compete in five road races with the Astana team, according to sources familiar with the developing situation.
Armstrong, who turns 37 this month, will compete in the Amgen Tour of California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia, the Dauphine-Libere and the Tour de France — and will race for no salary or bonuses, the sources, who asked to remain anonymous, told VeloNews.
Armstrong's manager, Mark Higgins, did not respond to questions.
However sources close to the story have told VeloNews that an exclusive article on the matter will be published in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, expected later this month.
Rumors of Armstrong's return swirled at last week’s Eurobike trade show in Germany and this week’s Tour of Missouri.
The rumor speculates that Armstrong will reunite with former team manager Johan Bruyneel at Team Astana — a viable option given Armstrong’s long-lasting relationships not only with the Belgian director but also Trek, Astana’s bike sponsor.
According to sources, the Texan will post all of his internally tested blood work online, in an attempt to establish complete transparency and prove that he is a clean athlete.
The rumor, which has been rampant for nearly a month, gained legs when former Discovery Channel team director Dirk Demol signed with Astana for 2009.
“I am excited to be reunited with Johan Bruyneel. What Johan has been able to do this year with Team Astana is quite special and admirable and I look forward to being a part of his program once again. It will be a new team with some familiar faces, but I know the winning philosophy and structure have remained the same.”
Other rumors are that Armstrong will continue to pursue mountain bike racing, and may try his hand at cyclocross as well.
Should Armstrong return with Astana, it would bolster a squad that arguably boasts the sport’s best stage-racing team.
In Missouri, Columbia rider George Hincapie, a close friend of Armstrong’s and the only man to ride on all seven of the Texan’s Tour winning teams, simply smiled when asked what he’d knew about the rumor, saying, “I don’t know anything.”
Armstrong re-enrolled himself into the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s out-of-competition testing pool prior to August’s Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race, where he finished second to Dave Wiens, said USA Cycling chief operating officer Sean Petty.
USADA rules state that any athlete who wishes to come out of retirement must enroll in the USADA out-of-competition testing program for at least six months in advance of regaining eligible status.
A return to racing would no doubt bring large crowds to American races, and could perhaps save the Tour de Georgia, which is struggling to land a title sponsor.
Petty said that should Armstrong wish to return to racing, “it would be one of most exciting things to happen to American racing since he won his seventh Tour. Depending on his plan, if that is what he wanted to do, it would be tremendously exciting and would generate a tremendous amount of attention on the sport, and on what he’s doing. People would be very interested to see how he would do in a comeback.”
The last big-name rider to return from retirement was Italian Mario Cipollini, who signed with Rock Racing and competed at this year’s Amgen Tour of California after three years away from the sport. Cipollini failed to win a stage, but took third in a field sprint and said, “This finish means as much to me as any victory.” Following the race Cipollini had a contractual dispute with Rock team owner Michael Ball, and left the team.