By Hedwig Kröner in Varese
Michael Rogers (Australia) had hoped to compete for the victory or at least for a medal in Thursday's time trial, but his final 12th place put him far off his expectations. The three-times world champion in the discipline could not live up to his objectives, even though the run up to the event had been promising with an eighth placing in the Beijing Olympic Games.
"It just didn't come together for me, and I'm a a bit disappointed," he said after the race. "I was relatively confident before the worlds - my sensations and times during training were similar to the years when I won. Now, I have to go back over it with my trainer and see where it didn't get together."
Rogers thought that he failed the proper rhythm especially in the second part of the course around the Varese lake. "In the middle section of the race, I seemed to fade a little bit," he said. "My first split wasn't too bad, and I think I just lost it in the second part. The last ten kilometres weren't the best, but they weren't bad either."
Trying to find out why he performed poorly, the Australian didn't put any blame on his knowledge of the course, or its particularities which would have suited him in theory. "I've known the course for a year; I know every inch of the circuit," he continued. "It's the same course for everyone; there are some flat pieces and some hard climbs, as well as a lot of undulating stuff. From my analysis so far, that's where I kind of lost it, in the undulating sections."
With the world's best so close together at this event, Rogers mused that peak performances can change rapidly within a few weeks. "It's always a difficult thing in an Olympic year to do both. I feel I've been getting better and better as the year went on. Svein Tuft, who was second today - I beat him in Missouri. That just goes to show how quickly things can turn around. He's obviously had the ride of his life today. It's just all about timing."
With three days to go before the road race, Rogers now needs to put his disappointment behind him, as a strong 'Cyclones' contingent is hoping to score a medal. "That's life, now you just have to learn the lesson from it," he concluded. "Now, there's still Sunday to go. I'm a bit sad, but I have to move on."