• flamboyance … or incompetence?

    by  • December 16, 2008 • too random • 33 Comments

    Rumors abound …

    hamilton_whereheshouldbe.jpgRock Racing … or Rock & Republic … or whatever the hell company is supposed to be running a professional cycling team as advertising agent ~ seems to have come under the pinprick of a bubble busted, or fad evaporated, or maybe just their time for being in the hurt bag has come with all the rest of us and … now some racers are set dead towards the path of unemployment line.

    Meanwhile … the Garmin/Chipotle juggernaut gathers steam and pushes forward with no let-up in site.

    What a tale of two cities…

    .

    Vaughters brings his squad together slowly, laying foundations, plotting trajectories like he was building a Boulder-based business to navigate through cycling’s boon and bust times.

    suck.jpg.

    While Ball’stein, on the otherhand, pours countless amounts of cash and credit into king-sized cadillacs, crazy-Vegas parties, and once-corrupted champions now kissing up co-eds and waving dipshitty hand gestures.

    .

    But there are those who proclaim ~ Ball’s Rocks brought fresh air into stale cycling, they shook up th’establishment, they made cycling REAL.

    1761_pate-1st_phspt_resize.jpgyeah.

    I’m sorry, but wearing argyle across the continents, putting yourselves through a self-funded anti-doping program, investing heavily in the youth of our sport and on their own team … THAT is keeping it real.

    and that is what Vaughters has done … continues to do.

    .

    and that is frickin’ cool.

    .

    while Ballstein’s R&R fades away … taking riders down with him.

    .

    damn shame.

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    33 Responses to flamboyance … or incompetence?

    1. December 16, 2008 at

      It’s not good to see any teams go into the tank, since that is just not healthy for the sport. Still, 2+2 never equaled 4 with the R&R bunch, and for a good lot of those guys this was the last chance motel for a bunch of checkered careers. I only feel bad for the young and upcoming guys on this squad who got caught in the vortex of silliness and might be riding the bench for 2009. Plus if Rock is gone, that eliminates a lot of hilarious items to rip on over the course of the ’09 season.

    2. Spliff
      December 16, 2008 at

      Is this known as PROGRESS or CHANGE?

      Keeping it real, now that’s gangster.

    3. Sabine
      December 16, 2008 at

      sexy

    4. Mr. Man
      December 16, 2008 at

      I think as people start to loose their jobs, their desire to wear douchie designer jeans that cost more then most people’s whole wardrobes will diminish, and Michael Ball will need to use his trust funds for a totally new douchie project.

      P.S. Tug Boat knows the truth Tyler.

      Mr. Man

    5. Steve
      December 16, 2008 at

      I won’t miss Michael Ball.

    6. Happy Camper
      December 16, 2008 at

      Michael Ball is an idiot. He rode the economic wave by making dumb ass jeans and actually selling them to bigger idiots. When the economy went against him, he blew up like the rest of them. He will go down as just another loud mouth wing nut who wanted to live large standing on his house of cards. The real funny story is that his investors have his balls in a vice and are squeezing very hard. The end of the story will be him cruising around in a 1966 vw bug with some turd of a girlfriend kickin’ it at a low end bar in back county USA. Of course, he will still sport that goofy hand gesture.

    7. Marc
      December 16, 2008 at

      Ya–
      MBall is obviously an idiot now. Lots of wasted potential.
      But he is very Louis xiv too, a cautionary tale, and it’s easy to see now.
      He tried to ride the edge of legitimacy, do what he thought were great
      things, and try to recoup the costs. It did not add up. And now he is done.
      I just hope people here and around the country learn from this stuff. It is sad
      to have someone so unrealistic in control of so much, and getting so little out of it. Such a waste.

    8. Michael Hernandez
      December 16, 2008 at

      a river

    9. Cchaitc3o
      December 16, 2008 at

      With such wild capriciousness in this endeavor, the end was/is predictable. When your team’s mission statement is something as transparently short sighted as “Here to stay”, you have to wonder where the leadership is headed. The added ‘bling’ of run-way models at the TOC, Cadillac Estupidoes and flashy kits apparently was not enough to generate the needed bouyancy for sustainability.

      Like any good fireworks show, fun to watch though quick to fade.

    10. Jimmie Proof
      December 16, 2008 at

      Ball brought (for a short time thank god) the WWF to road racing. Where as each rider on that team is an athlete, prescribed or not, there was little substance other than “the show” and strait up redneck from the start. See…the image of what redneck is has change and gone global. I for one am glad they’re gone and any racer that hitched his wagon to this falling star should have been paying closer attention.

    11. imrightyourwrong
      December 16, 2008 at

      Clean Team moves forward while Mean Team moves backward. Dopers getting dropped while transparent riders go on the attack. A new day is coming…………….

    12. Michael Hernandez
      December 16, 2008 at

      funny how facts work. and actions to help change.

    13. Bernie
      December 17, 2008 at

      Say what you you will about Mr. Ball.
      Then please name just one other Team who would take a chance on Rahsann Bahati before he won the Championship. Or any of the other guilty (who served the bans)or almost guilty drug abusers. There are a couple of regular nice guys on the squad too. You heard of Fast Freddie? I can’t believe that anyone (are we not all lovers of cycling?)who tunes into this site would cheer the demise of ANY cycling Team, but what I really don’t understand is why Mr. Ball doing his thing in a different way than what you’re used to or what you personally like, offends, and even angers some of you. Different than you DOES NOT equal wrong or bad. They ride a dam bike just like you. I can’t believe you’d be glad to see a Team fold! It reminds of living through the prejudice from the 60’s. I didn’t understand that either. Different than you MUST be “bad” right? And Vaughters’ Team as an example of good?! Please! If they’re cute and cuddly and light blue, it doesn’t matter if they dope (like David Millar) they’re the good guys.
      Shame on you people.

    14. Jen
      December 17, 2008 at

      yeah, say what you want about Ball, but I think about the riders and I’m sad. They want to ride bike. Don’t fault them for that. The whole thing is sad!

    15. Johnny GoFast
      December 17, 2008 at

      If the riders are good, they’ll find a market for their services. As for Ball, I never quite got his association with cycling nor his flamboyancy once entrenched. All the high flying attention getting antics, big pimpin’ with the spinners spinning in his Escalade, etc. didn’t really fit the cycling mold. Assuming he was in it to sell more of his Rock blue jeans, I never really thought he understood the biking culture/demographic. I can’t think of anyone I know that races a bike that reaches for his dungaries after completing the circuit. But the sight of Tyler trying to look the part, dressed in black, flying the casual wear with his pipe cleaner arms sticking out from the rolled up sleeve will surely be missed.

    16. Larry - the White Guy
      December 17, 2008 at

      M Ball is a great American. Living the capitalistic dreams we’re all capable of.

    17. Justin
      December 17, 2008 at

      Bernie–

      Ball was certainly doing things “differently” than someone like Vaughters. For example, Vaughters has his riders tested. Whereas Ball, well… Here’s a little taste, in case you forgot, of how he handled his team:

      “Kayle just received his “Congratulations, you are negative” letter from USADA. It’s just bullshit. Someone is out there trying to get him, and I will take it to the mat, dude, let me tell you. As I’ve said before, this sport is eating itself, they are eating their young. These rogue elements, if you will, within the USADAs and the WADAs, are absurd, and are killing this sport, for whatever reason. They might think in their warped sense of righteousness or crusading to save the sport, but they are killing it. I, for one, am an individual that refuses to allow that to happen. As far as Kayle is concerned, I will support him. The main sponsor, Rock & Republic and/or Rock Racing, which is the new brand, will support him, will not pull out of racing, will not throw him to the wolves. I wouldn’t do that to my rider, whether it is Kayle or a local rider who has done well and has the opportunity to do something very big. His numbers that have come back from testing are amazing. They are unbelievable… We’ve had him tested by Max Testa and Max stepped out and said, “You have a Tour de France contender. At the very least this man can win a stage.”… Some people, for some reason, their prejudices take them to a completely different level. And because they are in power, they think they can apply that power to an individual. Well I’m here to say no f—ing way. It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and I won’t stand for it. … It’s Gestapo tactics, frankly.”

      Yeah, his dirty ass crit-scum rider was putting up TdF numbers (and all the USADA attention was because of his tats), while Vaughters’ CLEAN riders are actually RIDING the TdF. Now that more information has been released, it appears R&R management actually knew he was dirty and did nothing until it hit the fan. Is it really so hard to say “good riddance” in this case? Puhlease.

    18. Bernie
      December 17, 2008 at

      Justin-
      You missed my point. Yes, unlike most people it seems, it is hard for me to say good riddance to Rock. As it was for me when Ricco tested positive last year and Sanier Duval pulled out of not just the race but the whole sport. Or Sinkewitz and T-Mobile. What about Gerolsteiner? A lot of teams have thier riders tested. But we’ve seen that testing riders isn’t always foolproof, is it? I applaud the efforts of Vaughters, but I don’t believe everybody on his team is worthy of worship. Look into the methods that Greg LeMond suggests for rider testing and find out the details of sealed SRMs (or other power meters) and the information they could give you, and then tell me why no teams have implemented these methods yet. It is more telling and more accurate than drug testing, and the cost is close to the same.
      Do you really think every single rider on ever single team deserves to have to look for another job because of one idiot? And does it really appear to you that RR knew he was dirty and approved of it? It doesn’t to me. Or does it appear that way to you because of your dislike of the “not as same as you” Michael Ball.
      And in the last lines you write, again you strengthen my stance against the use of the differences between us as (to me anyway, my opinion) a reason to be glad someone is gone, a fellow cyclist, or the whole team, just because they are different than you and the rest of “normal” cycling.
      BRING THAT SHIT ON I SAY! Drive your Escalade the way you want, spinners, outspokeness, podium girls, whatever!
      I read NorCalCyclingNews BECAUSE Michael Hernandez is not like me, not at all in any way, except we both like racing bikes and have some of the same friends. And I love it. I love it ALL because it is different, a fresh new way of doing something in a world and life full of same ol’ cookie cutter confirming stiff ass fun police.
      You don’t have to think like me. You don’t have to accept anything ever that you don’t like or agree with, but “puhlease” be honest with yourself. Why are you happy to see a team fold? I think it’s because they are different than you and because you can’t accept that.
      Free your mind.

    19. December 17, 2008 at

      You can have all the pimpin podium girls and gas guzzling Escalades and wear kits that burn your retinas blind. That is different and can be liked or disliked. Filling your roster with a geriatric who’s who of cyclng felons and snearing at the cleaning up of a druggie culture is not different. It’s a blatant slap to those trying to make a legitimite go of it in this professional racket.

      The only bad thing is having more money exit this sport in this kind of economy.

    20. Justin
      December 18, 2008 at

      Bernie:

      GW Bush did things “differently.” I’m sure that’s why everyone hates him, too.

      Go free your keyboard.

    21. hAndy
      December 18, 2008 at

      The attitude of cycling fans is the reason that cycling is a third rate sport in the US and our top athletes are making less than a lot of NFL players throw away on a good weekend in Vegas.

      Whatever Ball wants to do with his money is his buisness, either put up or shut up. IF you arent draining your savings to fund a Continental team with your type of riders, cars and kits…..

      Just ends up smelling like jealousy to me…..

      Every time I saw the RR caravan, I so wanted to be a part. I wont lie, they made it look cool.

      He put a lot of money into the sport besides ex-dopers, look at how many races had RR on it, how many RR commercials you saw on VS, the pimp website and banners plastered. Watch how many teams and races we lose in the next few years. My company meeting today was all about budget cuts and if/when on layoff’s, that trickles down and cycling is way low on the totem pole. Why scare away the support we do have before we can’t get any support at all…

    22. M. Ball
      December 18, 2008 at

      Rock Racing is here to stay. End of story.

    23. Michael Hernandez
      December 18, 2008 at

      takes balls.

      go hybrid next time

    24. Justin
      December 18, 2008 at

      “The attitude of cycling fans is the reason that cycling is a third rate sport in the US”

      Brilliant analysis.

    25. Happy Camper
      December 18, 2008 at

      Bernie,
      Your quotes: Or does it appear that way to you because of your dislike of the “not as same as you” Michael Ball. Different than you DOES NOT equal wrong or bad. Shame on you people

      Did you know:
      1. Ball earned a reputation for brash arrogance. Insulting the cycling establishment. No respect for his peers. No tact as a businessman.
      2. Last year, Ball was served with a handful of civil suits, alleging defamation, extortion, assault, and sexual harassment.

      There is a pattern of defiant, arogance and lack of morality. It’s not about being different or taking a new approach, it’s about having some class, respect, and a moral compass.

      If you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

      As for Vaughters, did you know he put every penny he had ($50,000) into starting his U23 junior team after his retirement from cycling. He went “all in” with his money and belief in the future of clean American Cycling. Teaching the best American youths that you can make it in cycling without performance enhancing drugs. He also chose to use Millar as a sign of redemption and hope.

      Ball, on the other hand, uses Bortego, Sevilla, Leogrande and Hamilton as an “In Your Face… I do what I want because I got the money and I there is nothing you can do about it” approach.

    26. Michael Hernandez
      December 18, 2008 at

      {snap}

    27. anon
      December 18, 2008 at

      Seems like folks here are singling out Rock Racing for its hiring of former dopers.

      Do y’all have the same animosity towards those who have hired Landis and Basso? Millar? How about if/when Vino returns to Astana?

    28. Michael Hernandez
      December 18, 2008 at

      or, you could be completely missing the point.

    29. Justin
      December 18, 2008 at

      bwahahahaha

    30. December 18, 2008 at

      Is anybody sure that Bernie isn’t Nome Agusta in drag?

    31. December 18, 2008 at

      And here’s the rub:

      Michael Ball is a polarizing figure. We all know that. BUT, love him or hate him, he’s a media magnet. You all have been commenting about him for TWO days now.

      Just a thought. :o)

      Happy Holidays!

    32. December 18, 2008 at

      let’s talk about Holly and how sexy she is. :)

    33. December 19, 2008 at

      where’s the popcorn?

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