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On the verge of breaking

By:
Michael Rogers
Published:
July 23, 2010, 3:17 BST,
Updated:
July 23, 2010, 4:25 BST
Race:
Tour de France

Tired Rogers talks about the impact of a long Tour

Mick Rogers (HTC-Columbia)

Mick Rogers (HTC-Columbia)

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From a rider’s perspective, in the Tour de France’s first two weeks everyone has fresh legs and has the ability to fight for position in the bunch. But now, in the third week, whether you like it or not, you just default to your current physical level. In the first week accelerating out of corners when you go through small towns and villages was easy, but now it’s almost impossible to contemplate.

Today we came off the descent from Soulor and went through a town with a sharp right hand turn and I nearly broke. It’s funny, on the climbs you also find yourself defaulting in a similar way. For the last few days I’ve been dropped on the climb with the same group of guys.

But now the mountains are over and I think 99 percent of the bunch is happy to see the end of them.

Tomorrow will be a big day for us with the possibility of a sprint. We will work pretty hard at that. I presume Lampre will do the same as they have the same goals and they’re still chasing the green jersey.

The time trial on Saturday will be interesting. Time trials in the third week of a Grand Tour are completely different to any other time trials. It doesn’t matter if you’re a specialist or not. The favourite for the TT at this point just comes down to whether you’ve still got the energy.

When I was UCI World Time Trial Champion a few years back I was always considered one of the favourites for the time trials in the Tour, but I remember vividly the 2005 time trial where I almost struggled to finish it. So Saturday will come down to the general classification riders who are fighting for overall and of course time trial specialists who still have something left. Everyone else will just be worried about getting to the finish.

Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) in the prologue
Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) during the prologue, all those weeks ago.

Finally, I’m pretty happy that race organiser ASO decided to make the final stage shorter this year. It’s only 102km or so, which is great. The final stage is more of a traditional parade anyway until you reach the Champs-Élysées, so it doesn’t really matter what happens before you reach the circuits.

The end result is likely to be the same anyway. When we hit the circuits, the race really starts and it will be pretty exciting as usual.

Author
Michael Rogers

Michael Rogers turned pro in 2001 in the legendary Mapei colours, and quickly established himself as one of the peloton's strongmen. He won three consecutive World Time Trial Championships between 2003 and 2005, and this prowess against the watch allied to his solid climbing made him as a perennial stage race contender. He has top ten finishes in both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia to his name, as well the general classification in the Tour of Germany, Tour of Belgium and Tour Down Under. A crash at the 2007 Tour de France followed by a bout of mononucleosis temporarily stunted his progress but only strengthened his resolve, and the Australian has since returned to the front of the peloton with some hugely impressive displays. A leader at HTC-Columbia, Rogers took a fine win at the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, and you can follow his assault on Tour glory here on cyclingnews.com

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