“If I had a heart, I’d cry”
The home page of Michael Ball’s Rock & Republic jeans begins with that bold declaration, followed by another slick statement of youth and stylish anarchy, “go big or go home.”
The UCI just double nixed Ball and his Rock Racing team for a Pro Continental License so both statements apply. Somewhere a skinny Asian model in one of Ball’s black mini-dresses is crying.
Floyd Landis and Gilberto Simoni won’t be too pleased to hear the news, either. Both were on the verge on signing with Rock Racing, the only hold-up, a valid Pro Conti license. Simoni has a fall back offer with Lampre but Landis doesn’t. Ouch in more ways than one.
Michael Bell is now between a rock and a hard place. And that’s a sad thing because the sport needs Michael Ball more than it needs another dull Italian team, especially one sponsored by a toy manufacturer. A team coming off the embarrassing suspension of its top rider Davide Rebellin for doping. Fashion models may do drugs but that’s part of their job and they don’t race bikes, right?
Cycling needs Ball’s flamboyance, his rock n roll mentality, his brash pontification and sexy girls. Just ask Giro impresario Angelo Zomegnan about creating spectacle and passion. You can bet Crazy Z wants Rock Racing at his race. He puts on a show, Cirque de Soleil on wheels.
Sure, Ball tends to play loose with the payroll but that’s the fashion world, baby. It’s a rolling party and everybody gets what they need in the end plus a closet of designer jeans and free passes to every disco on the globe.
Meanwhile, the strange Basque outfit, Placebo Galicia, was approved for their license. Last year, the UCI used this squad to test the difference in fan reaction between a real pro cycling team and a fake one with no active ingredients. Having previously announced the test was over, the inclusion of the Placebo team was a major surprise.
Twisted Spoke is listening to Michael Ball’s favorite music by Band of Skulls and thinking about the final line we saw on the Rock & Republic web site: “Nothing is held back.” Yeah, except a license to race.