Let me know what your PT says - I'm still working on my VMO issues, although they have improved considerably. Strapping and bracing are both options for keeping the kneecap in place if you do have a maltracking problem.
If you're looking for a road bike, I'd recommend checking Trek out as a first option. Dollar for dollar they have some of the best road bikes on the market, and this is a good time of year to buy - you can tap into both the winter clearance discounts and stores looking to get ride of their 2010 stock before the new bikes come out in January. I bought my road bike about this time last year, and got it for $600 rather than the list price of $1300. It was a 2009 model, and the only difference between it and the full price 2010 model was the paint job. All the components were identical.
As I mentioned, I have a really soft spot for Rocky Mountain bikes but that's only because they seem to work better with my cranky knees than any other bike (probably the frame design.) I'm not sure how easily available they are outside of Canada, but they're first class bikes for a very reasonable price. Norco also do some excellent entry level models. Unless you can pick up a deal, though, Trek is likely still the best value for money.