Cycling Weekly has editorialised about the Tour of Britain's lack of sense for inviting the so-called 'bad boys' of the pro peleton but the America-based Rock Racing team rolled into London yesterday and wowed the crowds with its classy black team car and bus; snazzy special edition Fuji bikes – with exclusive to the Tour of Britain livery; and roster of genuine racing legends. See pix here.
The Rock Racing team has divided cycle fans in America, with many deriding the team for picking Tyler Hamilton, convicted of blood doping but who has long insisted his innocence and who was believed by one of the three arbitrators in the case of USADA vs Hamilton. However, other cycle fans have welcomed Rock Racing's flamboyance.
Rock Racing is bankrolled by Michael Ball of the Rock and Republic clothing brand, most famous for its upmarket jeans.
The brand is sold in Harrods and it was therefore a natural tie-in for the iconic London store to stock team kit and a team bike from the Rock Racing outfit. The bike and soft goods can be found in the Cycles UK concession on the fifth floor.
The bike landed on Saturday. There's only one: it's a 53cm and costs an eye-watering £11,000.
The 'London Rocks' team kit, too, is pricey, even more so than Assos and Rapha. It's £350 for jersey and shorts. The special-issue green Rock Racing team kit - with Harrods on the back pocket of the jersey - was worn by the team at yesterday's start of the Tour of Britain. The team is wearing black kit for the rest of the tour. The Harrods kit is slightly cheaper, at £325.
Team members - including Tyler Hamilton, wearing blue kit to signal he's the current US road race champion - will stay on in the UK after the end of the Tour. They will join Michael Ball at a 'fan meet & greet' event in the Cycles UK concession in Harrods on Monday, September 15th, from 3-5pm.
Other team members present will include "Fast Freddie" Rodriguez; former Tour de France yellow jersey-wearer Victor Hugo Peña; previous World Time Trial Champion Santiago Botero; Tour de France white jersey-winner Oscar Sevilla and US National Criterium Champion Rahsaan Bahati.
As well as the Fuji SL 1s bike and pro team kit, Cycles UK is also stocking Rock Racing hoodies, t-shirts, jackets and caps for men, women and children.
Rock Racing's PR team is providing up-to-the-minute coverage of the Tour of Britain on a Twitter feed. http://twitter.com/RockRacing. The Tour is televised every night on ITV4 at 8-9pm.