By Steve Frothingham

Mario Cipollini at stage 1 of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California

Mario Cipollini at stage 1 of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California


Mario Cipollini’s relationship with the American team Rock Racing has ended, and the Italian is quashing rumors that he might jump into this weekend’s Milan-San Remo for a different team.

“Unfortunately I’ve had to end my relationship with the American Rock Racing team that started a few months ago,” the former world champion said Tuesday.

European papers had speculated that Cipollini would join the Tinkoff Credit Systems team for Milan-San Remo, but he said he was only interested in joining a team if he could be involved with its management and development.

“The idea of riding Milan-San Remo made sense if it was linked to a wider project of building and managing a new team and my return to racing was part of the project to create a dream team. Despite a contract, this hasn’t happened for reasons out of my control.”

Rock Racing team owner Michael Ball said the relationship did not work out for either side.

“From a business perspective and from an overall team standpoint, the relationship between Mario Cipollini and Rock Racing was not advantageous, and would not work long-term. We have terminated his contract and wish him luck in future endeavours,” Ball said.
-Agence France Presse contributed to this report-