Results tagged “Rock Racing” from spare cycles

Rahsaan Bahati Corners - (c) Ken Conley
Rahsaan Bahati Three-peats - (c) Ken Conley

Click here for more Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2009 Pro Men Photos

The mens' race at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix was loaded with expectation for Rahsaan Bahati. He's the winner of the two previous Manhattan Beach races and US crit national champion, and yet he had to suffer the humiliation of being relegated to the Rock Racing amateur squad in order to meet UCI regulations on age limits.

But the Rock Racing roster had plenty of turmoil this year and Bahati had his pro status returned to him once more. If that wasn't enough motivation, he had a stacked squad this year in the likes of U23 national crit champ Justin Williams, recently resigned Ivan Dominguez, Freddie Rodriguez and more.

Cal Giant did their best to stick it to Rock Racing with attacks from Patrick Briggs and James Mattis. Ouch had a strong squad with the likes of Rory Sutherland, Floyd Landis, and John Murphy, but they faded under the pressure of the Rock Racing armada.

There's little you can do in the face of so much expectation for one little race. Fast Freddie gave Bahati another leadout, this time avoiding crash, and the rest was three-peat.

Manhattan Beach Grand Prix 2009 Pro Men Gallery

Francisco Mancebo - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Francisco Mancebo - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Tour of California Stage 1 Photo Gallery

Usually when you go off the front in terrible weather and get caught by two riders who bridged on the finishing circuits, you're toast. But Francisco Mancebo was all kinds of tough today and outjumped those who tried to take his victory, single-handedly delivering Rock Racing perhaps its greatest victory (only Hamilton's championship can compare).

The rain was equally tough, doing its best to destroy my camera equipment. As I dry it out and hope that it still functions tomorrow, I'll continue to post photos, including from the women's criterium that Columbia's Emilia Fahlin took in the breakaway sprint.

Tour of California Stage 1 Photo Gallery

US Pro.jpgTyler Hamilton took the sprint over Blake Caldwell in a photo finish. Caldwell was able to sit on Hamilton's wheel for most of the run-in to the finish, but Hamilton got Caldwell to lead it out and came around his wheel at the last second for the victory. It's Hamilton's first-ever national RR championship and it comes as a redemption on US soil, not too long after his overall victory at the Tour of Qinghai Lake.

Tyler Hamilton - (c) Ken Conley
ToC photo by Ken Conley
Garmin finished 2-3-4 and it was really their race to control. They started ten riders and all -- including Tom Danielson and Christian Vande Velde -- were on the attack. Blake Caldwell, Danny Pate, and Lucas Euser were among the five that finally broke away from a group containing George Hincapie, but they seemed flummoxed by the presence of both Tyler Hamilton and Jeff Louder. They attacked and counter-attacked, but Louder and Hamilton would not quit. Eventually Hamilton took the race into his own hands and went on the attack, with Caldwell following. The chase group of Pate and Euser were unable to drop Louder, so Caldwell was forced to deal with Hamilton all by himself.

It's been a great finish to the year for Rock Racing and there will be plenty of US championship kits to fly next year. Rahsaan Bahati took the US Crit championship and Justin Williams took the U23 championship.

Manhattan Beach Grand Prix photos

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Brooke Miller - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Rahsaan Bahati Wins - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Rahsaan Bahati - (c) Ken Conley Amber Rais - (c) Ken Conley

Apologies for the brief post. We flew into LAX at 9am this morning, had fun at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, took some so-so photos, and flew back at 6pm. Photo upload is now in progress and on autopilot. I'm off to bed.

Remote shots with no remote

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Sprint Finish - (c) Ken ConleyStart of the First Lap in Augusta - (c) Ken Conley
Photos by Katrina Florence

I spent the day driving from Statesboro to Augusta with Mario, one of the Rock Racing photographers. He noted that the balcony of the media room looked over the finish line and wished he had his remote to shoot with, then came up with a brilliant idea: why not hand off his camera to someone in the press room? I couldn't let a good idea go unmimicked, so I handed my camera off to Katrina Florence/Elevation Sports/Rock Racing. I'm quite happy as she caught a photo of the peloton starting the first lap as well as the separation of the sprinters. One of these days I'll pony up money for a set of Pocket Wizard remotes, but until then, this is actually much better. Thanks Katrina and Mario!

TdG: Will there be Rock?

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Rock Racing - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Conflicting reports are emerging as to whether or not Rock Racing has negotiated its way back into the Tour de Georgia. Despite offering to pay its own way, Rock Racing was spurned from the initial list of teams. Rock sued Medalist for its exclusion and and is finding its case easier to make with the news that Saunier Duval has dropped out due to injuries.

Update: There will be Rock

Ronde van Brisbeen Circuit Race 2008

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Freddie Rodriguez - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Men's Cat 3 - (c) Ken Conley Men's Cat 3 - (c) Ken Conley

BMC Break - (c) Ken Conley BMC Break - (c) Ken Conley

yes, I blew the finish shot and tried to hide it with bad creative photoshopping...

Ronde van Brisbeen 2008 Circuit Race Photos

Stage 2 of Ronde van Brisbeen is a 1.7-mile circuit race in the Brisbane Highlands. This year's event was brutal with its smack-you-in-the-face headwind on the climb to the finish. Gusts were strong enough to knock over the hay bales used in the turns.

BMC led an attack on nearly every lap up this climb with Cal Giant covering, which quickly shelled most of the pack. Surprise entry Freddie Rodriguez looked fairly comfortable in the lead group, having just finished off a burrito 15 minutes before race time. BMC sprung a two-man break with Nathan Miller and Brent Bookwalter that quickly gained a minute lead. A Cal Giant rider tried to bridge but the windy conditions were too much. Fast Freddie tried to pull it back, but he eventually found himself accompanied by only two riders: one of them from BMC.

I used this race to practice for the Tour de Georgia. You can probably tell from the gallery what shots I was practicing. I don't like going for the special effects shots too much, but they're fun in small doses.

Results

Ronde van Brisbeen 2008 Circuit Race Photos

Stage 2: Tommeke Tommeke Tommeke

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Tom Boonen - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Tom Boonen - (c) Ken Conley

Stage 2 Photo Gallery

The Tour of California got a bit of the old and new today and a world champion in between: Tom Boonen took his first victory in the Tour of California, Tyler Farrar put on Slipstream's first overall leader's jersey, and Mario Cipollini showed that he has more kick than fellow riders gave him credit. CSC's dominance of this year's Tour of California ended as Haedo flatted in the final circuits. He was able to chase back but was outkicked by Cipo for third. Dominguez was less lucky and finished off the back of the peloton with a teammate.

All were wet and worn after a long day pedaling in chilly rain and winds. BMC rider Scott Nydam had the longest day as he went on a solo effort up the early Trinity Grade climb and latest through all the intermediate prizes on the day. Nydam picked up BMC's second most aggressive rider award and Jackson Stewart defended his KOM lead.

I spent the early part of the day on Trinity Grade. Levi Leipheimer's dad helped me climb a tree and Levi's wife Odessa brought along their dog Smokey to help cheer Levi along.

Stage 2 Photo Gallery

Pre-Prologue Photos

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Chris Horner - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Prologue Pre-Race Photo Gallery

Look who's come to town:

Floyd Landis - (c) Ken Conley

Oscar Sevilla - (c) Ken Conley Tyler Hamilton - (c) Ken Conley Mario Cipollini - (c) Ken Conley

And some warmups:

CheChu Rubiera - (c) Ken Conley Bjarne Riis - (c) Ken Conley Fabian Cancellara - (c) Ken Conley Janez Brajkovic - (c) Ken Conley Paolo Bettini - (c) Ken Conley Bradley Wiggins - (c) Ken Conley George Hincapie - (c) Ken Conley Luciano Pagliarini - (c) Ken Conley

It's not about the bike:

Slipstream - (c) Ken Conley Saunier Duval - (c) Ken Conley

Slipstream - (c) Ken Conley

Bradley Wiggins - (c) Ken Conley

Prologue Pre-Race Photo Gallery

ToC '08 Kickoff Press Conference

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Press Conference
Photo by Ken Conley

Press Conference Photo Gallery

Freddie RodriguezRock Racing got the big news today as Michael Ball called a press conference just before the official kickoff press conference: Cipo is in but Ball claims that either his whole team will start or none at all. Race organizers readily admit to bending the rules a bit to allow Cipo to be a last minute addition, but Rock Racing will be only allow five riders at the start, and none of the Puerto Three. It puts AEG in a tough position as they took half a million of Ball's money, but it's the UCI that actually has control over who starts. Michael Ball will most likely pull some sort of stunt tomorrow by having his banned riders (Botero, Sevilla, Hamilton) attempt to start and he'll have to figure out if he really meant what he said.
David Millar Let Levi Ride Jens Voigt

As for the actual press conference, it was full of your general pablum by sponsors and organizers. My photo reel is full of riders pulling at their faces in boredom, but it was nice to see a very packed press conference. Analogies were made between Rock's situation and Astana's, and Levi was careful in his wording not to rule out switching to another team for the Tour de France while pimping LetLeviRide.com. Jens Voigt was there sporting some road rash from a recent crash and rumor has it that Zabriskie is sporting an handlebar mustache, ala Cozza.

Steephill.tv took video -- I'll link to it as soon as I spot it on his ToC page.

Press Conference Photo Gallery

Favorite one-liner on Rock Racing

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From the Friday Foaming Rant:

Still, man, I love this f--king Michael Ball guy. It's refreshing for a change to suspect that management may be on drugs.