USA Today's Sal Ruibal reports that Rock Racing has backed down from its defiant stance of earlier today and that after reconsidering the prospects of a "fight" the riders AEG found questionable will sit out the ToC:
...after a team meeting Saturday night, all three riders said they would rather sit out the race than disrupt the prologue.
"They'll still be on the team and they'll be out signing posters for the fans," Ball told USA TODAY. "There were some of our riders who said, 'If they can't race, we won't race,' but the three guys wanted to see the team out on the course."
The CyclingNews clarifies the RCS's invitation to Team High Road to participate in the Giro this year. And Spanish Secretary of State for Sport Jaime Lissavetzky supports Alberto Contador as he joins his voice to the chorus of those opposing Astana's exclusion for all ASO events, including of course the Tour de France. Fnially, CONI's appeal to the CAS of Alessandro Petacchi's "acquittal" on doping charges has been set for April 2.
A CyclingNews extra reports the continuation of the "war" between AEG and Rock Racing as RR fights for the right to field the team of its choice in the ToC. Maurice Suh is Michael Ball's legal representative. This will not be pretty, and is the LAST thing cycling needs as it struggles to regain its credibility.
The VeloNews Friday Mailbag is full of angry letters about the ASO's snub of Astana and how some fans plan to respond to it. VeloNews also covered the initial press conference concerning Rock Racing and its dispute with AEG earlier today.
Bicycle.NET covered Michael Ball's press conference today before the start of the Tour of California. He insists all his riders are entered, and doesn't understand why some are not on the official start list. He argues for a union with teeth, and thinks it is going to be an interesting 24 hours. Frankie Andreu was present, and thanked. Interesting, indeed!
(The same article is at the Tyler Hamilton Foundation website, with a link that is likely to go bad. Tip from an emailer who really liked the Union talk.)
Racejunkie is a wonderin' about this OP thing as well as the "humbling" of Johan Bruyneel by the Giro (who has decided that team High Road deserves an invite after all). Finally, who does determine who has or has not paid their "debt" to society? Oh and RJ, stay away from those prostate Drs.
Rant ask why "St Gregory the Pious" seems to take so much pleasure in the destruction of something he claims to love so much. Good question.
Velo Vortmax wants the ASO and Christian Pudhomme to consider Pat McQuaid's advice and just invite all of the pro teams to the TdF this year. After all at this point Astana seems to have more integrity than either the ASO or Prudhomme.
Tyler Brandt hung out with lots of his favorite riders at a ToC function last night and posts tons of pictures. He promises more to come, and among those one of Floyd Landis (?)