Update: The mystery deepens. Lyne over at Podium In Sight has confirmed with the team that there was no press release issued on the Pavenage story. The spokesperson for the team said that there was no news forthcoming on this subject.
The spokesperson also told Podium In Sight that the team registrations were not due to the UCI until 6 December. This suggests that the ProContinental/Continental issue might yet be resolved. Should the team change its designation to ProConti, the age restrictions on the roster would no longer hold.
Update 1: According to l'équipe, Pavenage confirmed that he has a "verbal agreement" with Rock Racing, but he has not yet signed a contract. He also said that he misses the racing world.
Meanwhile, over at Cyclingnews (lead story, wow! no scrolling), they report that Rock Racing issued a press statement confirming the story. There is no sign of the press release on the Rock Racing site, however.
Original Story:Rudy Pevenage, the former mentor to Jan Ullrich, will join Rock Racing next season as a sports director. Named in the Puerto investigation as a middle man between Dr. Fuentes and his protegé, Ullrich, Pavenage lost his position with T-Mobile in Summer 2006. Pevenage joins four other Puerto-istes at Rock: Tyler Hamilton, Francisco Mancebo, José Enrique Gutiérrez, and Oscar Sevilla. The source for the reported transfer is Belgian television station Sporza.
Though rumors suggested Ullrich might come out of retirement to join Rock, the German's manager, Wolfgang Strohband, continues to deny the possibility. In a recent statement Strohband said that while Ullrich found the Rock Racing team very interesting, he had no intention of returning to racing.
Since the beginning, Rock Racing has continually courted controversy and headlines. The Pevenage signing adds a new twist to the already confusing Rock story. As Podium In Sight revealed recently, the team's roster for next season does not comply with the UCI rules governing Continental teams. According to those rules, the majority of the team's riders must be under age 28. No explanation has yet surfaced as to whether the UCI will grant Rock a waiver on the age rule or what the team intends to do about the rules violation.
The Pevenage signing only adds to the controversy around the team, as the Puerto evidence included taped phone calls between Pevenage and Dr. Fuentes. Several of the calls came coincident with the long time trial at the 2006 Giro d'Italia, which Ullrich won handily. The Rock Racing management has frequently declared an ambition to participate in the major European races. Not only are they barred from doing so as a Continental-registered team, but the signing of the Ghosts of Cycling's Past like Pevenage will do little to open the gates to cycling's most prestigious races.