Saunier Duval won’t be in Georgia, Rock will

The line-up for the upcoming Tour de Georgia changed Tuesday when ProTour team Saunier Duval-Scott announced that it would not be able to attend the race.

Replacing the Spanish ProTour team is domestic squad Rock Racing, which had filed a lawsuit last week seeking a court-ordered injunction to be invited to the race based on what the team said was an oral agreement with organizer Medalist Sports.

The case had originally been scheduled for a Tuesday hearing, but legal proceedings were not necessary, as Rock and Medalist settled the issue without going to court.

The seven-day, 660-mile stage race begins Monday, April 21.

“The fans told us they wanted us to be there,” said Rock team owner Michael Ball. “We are pleased that we were able to work with Medalist to come to a mutually beneficial decision. Now the race will truly field the best of the best of international and domestic pro cycling teams which will only build on the momentum created for domestic cycling at the Tour of California.”

Messages left with Medalist Sports were not answered by late Tuesday afternoon.

Okay, so I was wrong … Rock Racing will be going to Georgia after all …

Maybe the predicted implosion won’t happen. Maybe Cesar Grajales will get to start a race this year … then again, maybe not.

Saunier Duval’s withdrawal did open a slot of the previously “full” race to allow Rock to enter.

Coincidence? I think not.

Convenient, though, especially since Medalist apparently knew about Saunier Duval’s withdrawal last Thursday; two days after Rock filed suit, and the day before it was announced they were suing.

And unless Cesar Grajales has started local races, he hasn’t raced yet this season. He’s always been one of the “stars” (or at least “hometown” draw) at the TdG. Wonder how good a race he’ll have with no race miles in his legs.