Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rock Racing Reveals Rosters For Tour de Georgia

Rock Racing will field a line-up for the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T that includes a world time trial champion, an Olympic gold medalist, Tour de France yellow jersey, polka-dot jersey and white jersey wearers and a three-time U.S. national road race champion who is also a four-time Tour de Georgia stage winner.

Rock Racing’s roster for the seven-day, 600-mile (965 km) stage race includes: Santiago Botero (COL), Tyler Hamilton (USA), Victor Hugo Peña (COL), Freddie Rodriguez (USA), Oscar Sevilla (ESP), Michael Creed (USA), Doug Ollerenshaw (USA) and Kayle Leogrande (USA). Mariano Friedrick is the team director.

Rock Racing Team Owner Michael Ball said the squad is ready despite its late entry into the event. Rock Racing learned of its acceptance into the 15-team field late Tuesday after ProTour entry Saunier Duval-Scott was forced to withdraw due to a rash of injuries.

“The riders selected to represent us are well-suited to the challenging course, particularly the team time trial and decisive climbing stages that come later in the week,” Ball said. “Our line-up is nearly identical to the one that helped us win the overall and King of the Mountains title at Redlands two weeks ago.”

At that race, Botero showed the form that won him the 2002 world time trial, three stages of the Tour de France and the King of the Mountains title at that race in 2000. He soloed to victory on Stage 1 en route to a 54-second margin in the final overall standings. Supporting him were Hamilton (2004 Olympic time trial champion), Peña (wearer of the yellow jersey for three stages of the Tour de France in 2003), Sevilla (winner of the white jersey as best young rider at the Tour de France in 2001) and Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, with four stage wins and nine podium finishes to his credit, is one of the most decorated cyclists in the six-year history of the Tour de Georgia. The three-time U.S. national road race champion has twice won the race’s sprint classification (2003 and 2006) and finished second overall in the race’s inaugural edition (2003). Rodriguez’s most recent stage victory came last year during Stage 6 at Stone Mountain Park.

Ball said Rock Racing is also pleased to be a founding sponsor of the Tour de Georgia, which begins Monday in Tybee Island. As a founding sponsor, Rock Racing joins Wal-Mart, General Electric, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Blue Cross and others who have pledged to support the race at the highest level.

“My commitment to cycling is long-term and I am proud to support this world-class race which has featured such winners as Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis,” Ball said. “As a tribute to the state of Georgia and to the rich tradition of this race, we plan something special for the final stage, so stay tuned.”

During the Tour de Georgia, Rock Racing fans will have an opportunity to purchase official team merchandise from Thursday through Sunday at Stages 4 through 7. Rock Racing Trackside is part of the race’s Health & Wellness Expo that is adjacent to each finish venue. Fans can also get autographs from their favorite Rock Racing riders before and after each stage of the race.

On the other side of the country, Rock Racing will field a full eight-rider squad for the Sea Otter Classic SRAM Circuit Race Saturday at the Laguna Seca Raceway in California. On the roster for the 71-mile (114 km) National Race Calendar event are: Rahsaan Bahati (USA), David Clinger (USA), Peter Dawson (AUS), Sergio Hernandez (USA), Kevin Klein (USA), Rudolph “Rudy” Napolitano (USA), Adam Switters (USA) and Jeremiah Wiscovitch (USA).

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