Jan Ullrich’s former manager and confidant Rudy Pevenage has been signed as a directuer sportif by the controversial America Rock Racing team.
Pevenage was sacked from German team T-Mobile when he and Ullrich became embroiled in the Operacion Puerto doping scandal. Ullrich himself was also ejected from the team and promptly retired from the sport.
Rock Racing has courted controversy since its inception by team owner Michael Ball. Ball was quick to sign up the services of several high-profile riders that had been involved in doping allegations or bans, including Oscar Sevilla and Tyler Hamilton.
Hamilton was suspended from competition for two years in 2004 after he failed an anti-doping test for blood transfusion at the Vuelta a Espana. Hamilton won the 2008 US Road National Championships, an act that has divided opinion among US fans.
Along with Pevenage, Rock Racing has also signed several new riders to bolster its line-up for 2009 – Baden Cooke, Francisco Mancebo and Jose Enrique Gutierrez join the team in addition to several US riders. Santiago Botero has left the team to be closer to his family in Colombia.
?Last year was a year of redemption,? Ball said. ?Given the opportunity to ride, we proved we were able to win. In 2009, we will continue our winning tradition, and from a branding and fan perspective, be the number one team in the world.?
“We have assembled a world class team and acquired a mix of tremendous talent and experience. We have the strength, depth and tenacity to compete in any race around the globe.?
Rock Racing attended the 2008 Tour of Britain, but suffered mixed fortunes as Hamilton crashed out of contention. Always one to generate publicity, Ball organised a team signing event at London store Harrods and hailed the squad’s visit to Britain as a success.
Rock Racing 2009 roster
Jose Manuel Garcia
Jose Enrique Gutierrez
Victor Hugo Pena
Rock Racing: www.rockracing.com