The last few months have been a time of considerable change for Australian Michael Rogers. He got married to his fiancée Alessia, took an unusually long break from cycling, and changed teams from Quick Step to T-Mobile. Now, batteries fully recharged, he tells Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes that he is looking forward to the new season.
Given that Michael Rogers has already taken three world time trial championships and has been racing at the top level for many years, it is easy to forget that the Barham native is still just 26 years old. He's long been seen as one of the most promising young stage race riders and in 2005 went close to winning the Tour of Switzerland, only losing out to Aitor Gonzalez on the final stage. He finished second overall, just 0'22 down.
Digging deep in Switzerland caused, he believes, a drop in form for the Tour de France, but despite a disappointing showing there, he set about regaining form and went on to take that third time trial title in Madrid. As he tells Cyclingnews, he was under a considerable amount of pressure heading to Spain for that September 22 rendezvous with the record books. However, he was able to deal with the stress, riding strongly on the Caso de Campo circuit and pulling off what was a great win.
At T-Mobile's launch, Rogers was presented as one of the three big guns for the stage races this year. Along with Jan Ullrich and Andreas Klöden, he has the ability to win big, time trialing strongly and climbing well. However, as long as Ullrich as designs on winning the Tour, he knows that he will play second fiddle to the 1997 winner. That's fine by him.
Cyclingnews: How have things been so far with the new team?
Michael Rogers: Good... it is only January, it is quite early, but from my experience over the last five to six years, it seems to be a team that has already getting along and is quite united.
CN: Do you speak any German at all?
MR: No, but between Italian and English I should get on fine. Besides, they say the official language of the team is now English. Saying that, I will have to learn little bit of German.