By Susan Westemeyer
Michael Rogers has said that he is happy with Team High Road and would seriously considering staying with the team after his contract expires next year, but some Australians are hoping he will change his mind and join a planned Australian ProTour team in 2009.
UCI Vice President, Australian Ray Godkin, told the Sydney Morning Herald, "It is an absolute disaster that a company like T-Mobile is pulling out. They have been such a great sponsor, and for some time.
"But I don't know if I am so distressed about Michael. I hope that in 2009 when [the team] will be finished that we will have a professional team [from Australia]. If he comes off contract that makes it easier for us. I am sure Michael being Michael, he would love to be in an Australian team if we do have one. And if so, hopefully we will have some other prominent riders also coming off contract [to join]."
Australian businessman Tony Smith has said that he will provide five million Australian dollars a year for a team to be called "Roam Free," assuming other sponsors will also participate. "We need other support. We are talking minimum $10 million a year, but the more the better," Godkin said. "There are other people who are doing the same. If we can link them together we are on a winner."