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Ron&Fez XM202/Sirius197
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I support RR. I Cant drop $250 jersey, but a little easier knowing part of that is going to something good. Kinda like starbucks, have a hard time paying $4 for a cup of coffee. But I have read 40% of that goes towards healthcare for part time employees. (though this may change due to the current economy)

Mr. Ball gets alot of sh!t for being outspoken, but he does love the sport. As long as his team races clean, I dont care who races for them. He is good for the sport. I would like to see them get some invites to europe next year. He will probably sign a major GC contender over the winter. I hope Floyd gets to race next year, He would be the ulitmate "Bad guy".
Bryan
 

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Cannot bench own weight
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It's cool, the sport needs involved owners. I'm not a fan of the team though. I don't like the "faux rebel" look and attitude. It's nice to see that Sevilla is having a pretty good year though. Second at the Spanish Champ to Valverde is a nice result.
 

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Ball seems like a smart businessman. He knows how to drive publicity for his product. Sponsoring one of our local races was brilliant: http://www.spartacycling.com/harlemrocks/ Among NYC racers he went from being a loud-mouthed malcontent to someone who really cares about the sport. I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

However, he seems to have sort of a short-term mentality about cycling (not surprising because he comes from fashion). How long can he really keep going as a title sponsor before he brings in some other big name? Is he ever going to break out into high-level European racing? That's where the big money seems to be. Not with Tyler Hamilton and Rashaan Bahati he's not.

Sure, maybe he's got a plan to become the next Navigators, who sponsored a domestic team for more than a decade. But somehow I don't see it happening. He'll want to grow this team internationally or else he'll get bored and pull out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
(However, he seems to have sort of a short-term mentality about cycling (not surprising because he comes from fashion).

He can do in a short term what others didnt do in a lifetime aaah, mmmm,Lemond.
 

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Cannot bench own weight
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If I recall, the barrier to Euro racing is with how his team is licensed isn't it? I don't recall the particulars, but something about his team's status (division?) precludes him from racing in UCI events.

Sevilla is a good racer, and I wouldn't be surprised if Ball ends up cutting Hamilton and stays away from Landis. Seems to mirror the Tinkoff situation a year or two ago. Hire a bunch of suspect big names, get some notoriety, then decide that perhaps going the other direction is best.
 

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chamois creme addict
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sevencycle said:
He is doing so much to this ailing sport.Hiring ex-dopers (to me) show forgiveness.He has added a little "new school" as "old school" is killing this sport.His passion shows. www.velonews.com/article/79027/rock-racing-launches-fund-to-help-injured-bike-racers
While I am not exactly a Rock Racing fan, or a fan of Michael Ball, this endeavour deserves major kudos. Many guys racing domestic pro or UCI Continental are making very small amounts of money, if any, and in some cases the health insurance and long-term care coverage is spotty. I am not sure if every so-called pro team even has a health insurance program for riders, and even if there is one in place it might not be iron-clad. Plus, it can be a dirty business, remember Cofidis backing out of LA's contract when he had cancer.

Love him or hate him, Michael Ball should be commended for starting this program.
 

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haole from the mainland
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Einstruzende said:
If I recall, the barrier to Euro racing is with how his team is licensed isn't it? I don't recall the particulars, but something about his team's status (division?) precludes him from racing in UCI events.
I think non-ProTour teams need to have "wildcard" status to be eligible to be invited to ProTour events. Not sure whether wildcard status is limited to Professional Continental teams (ala Slipstream), whether the status is automatic with Professional Continental status, or whether plain-old Continental teams are eligible for the status as well.
 

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he's putting more money into the sport than other owners-title sponsoring a lot of races and infusing domestic racing with some excitement (face it, most other teams are pretty lackluster-even dedicated fans can't name most racers on teams like Bissell, Healthnet etc) and Sevilla came in second to Valverde at the Spanish Championships; that's a pretty impressive result for Rock.
 

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NeoRetroGrouch
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Not evil.....

But the jury is still out for me on Mr Ball. Perhaps its a stylistic difference between a nobody like me & a fashion mogul like Mr. Ball, but I'd have a whole lot more respect for him if he let his actions do the talking instead of his mouth. He is a promoter and comes up with some pretty good ideas, but he doesn't seem to have anyone in his entourage that he can float ideas past. No one that can give him honest feedback. The riders catastrophic fund is one such idea. This won't go beyond a Rock Racing thing for the following reasons

1. Mr Ball always has to "challenge" others. He would have likely gotten support if he went to industry leaders, team sponsors, manufacturers, gotten buy in and then presented a press release.

2. Hasn't specified the initial amount (only loosely) of this contribution. If it is 200K, then he needs to find 99 other guys to give at the same level to reach 20MM

3. Is it an endowment, or does it payout from the contributions.

4. Very loose wording on who will make up the panel that will determine an individual's eligibility when applying for funds.

Great idea- wrong road map. I hope I'm wrong


In all the hype surrounding this one, I did have a question- How come the riders are not eligible for workman's comp as indicated in the release?

While I'm not surprised that cycling teams do not offer medical insurance or pensions to their riders, I imagine that Mr Ball does, as he understands how important it is to his riders and would be in line with his desire to take care of his athletes.
 
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