In spite of their flash, publicity and high profile, I've boycotted mention of Rock Racing on this blog until now. The team cars and podium girls are something else and I like part of what Rock Racing does with their flair, excitement and showmanship, but cultivating the bad boy image and signing dopers to their roster is the antithesis of what pro cycling organizers are trying to do. Maybe they're all clean, but these days image and perception counts for a lot.
This news that Rock Racing team director Frankie Andreu ended his contract with Rock Racing caught my attention. Andreu was team captain of the USPS cycling team with Lance Armstrong from 1998 to 2000. In 2006, Andreu attracted controversy when he and his wife revealed that Lance Armstrong admitted in their presence of doping with EPO. He was fired shortly afterwards as director of the Toyota-United Team. After that, Andreu came clean himself and admitted to doping with EPO before the 1999 Tour de France.
I have no idea of Andreu's motives here. Reading between the lines, it might be a personality conflict between him and team sponsor Michael Ball. It must be frustrating when the sponsor makes team decisions without the team director's input. Or it could be that Andreu is standing up for principles and clean sport, as this cycling fan proposes.
What do you think? Did Frankie Andreu quit because of principles? Or was he ticked for being bypassed on decisions that belong to him? Maybe he understood what Rock Racing stood for, thought he could handle it but then found out he was in over his head?
I dunno, this is a tough one. I've met him a few times, we've exchanged pleasantries at various races and though that hardly qualfies me to judge his character he always seemed like a straight shooter in that "aw-shucks" midwestern sort of way.
As far as he and his wife in Lance's hosital room and Lance's possible-deathbed admission - why would Becky Andreau lie? To protect her husband? My take on that whole scenario is that Armstrong is fucked up, he could die, and the doctor says something like 'you'd better tell me' so he comes clean.
...tough call...i always felt like frankie outed himself to regain validity after the 'lance epo accusations' kinda backfired on he & his wife...kind of a "i can prove lance did cuz, ah well, see, i did too"...
...i found it much easier to rewarm up to someone like bjarne riis, a man who's admissions offered him nothing to gain but personal piece of mind (& a lotta industry flack)...
...that being said, andreu as 'team director' had his hands tied by micheal ball, a man who having put a very successful clothing biz together, assumes his business model will work in bicycle racing...who's to say it wouldn't but obviously not w/ a personality like frankie's (or a lot of cycling fans)...
...andreu was a good team player as a rider but his career has been nothing short of tumultuous since...he's not a favorite of mine but i wish him good luck...
For anyone watching the apparel business, Mr. Ball’s (Rock Racing) behavior in the world of cycling is mild, so far. In 2007 he was sued for sexual harassment, defamation, assault, extortion, breach of contract and other charges at Rock & Republic.
Papers filed in one case refer to Ball’s “criminal activities, acts of violence, court ordered psychiatric treatment, Ball’s own use of a false social security number (which he presented to police upon his arrest and sentencing), and evidence that at least three different social security numbers were used…two examples of are attached hereto as arrest and sentencing report and Solis v. Ford, L.A. Superior Court, Case No. BC 228258.”
Seems that all we know about Ball in the cycling world is what he said about himself in his R&R biography, “In the late ‘80s, Michael was considered one of the fastest, smartest and most aggressive cyclists on the circuit. The avid athlete had discovered he had the stamina to succeed at any task he took on. Michael won the LA Tri-Sprint Series and then went on to the national track rankings where he conquered the Velodrome. However, an unfortunate racing crash forced him to put his racing aspirations on hold.”
“In the late ‘80s, Michael was considered one of the fastest, smartest and most aggressive cyclists on the circuit. The avid athlete had discovered he had the stamina to succeed at any task he took on. Michael won the LA Tri-Sprint Series and then went on to the national track rankings where he conquered the Velodrome. However, an unfortunate racing crash forced him to put his racing aspirations on hold.”