Michael Rogers: I've found my niche

Australian aims at week-long stage races

Michael Rogers may have brought down the curtain on his time with HTC-Columbia but the Australian is already looking towards having another successful season in 2011.

Rogers won both the Amgen Tour of California and the Vuelta a Andalucia this season, as well as finishing second overall in the Criterium International and third in the Tour de Romandie, marking him as one of the most successful riders in week-long stage races. Although he would not be drawn on his professional status and possible future team, he pinpointed where his future targets will lie.

“I think I really found my niche as a cyclist. The Tour de France is really only good for a few people who can actually say they can win but I was really good and competitive in week long stage races,” he told Cyclingnews.

Rogers’ fine form at the start of the season deserted him in July and after ten days of racing he was already out of the running for a top-placed finish.

“When I’m in good condition and there’s a week-long race with a time trial, I know I can win them all. I’d be crazy not to concentrate on that.”

One race that Rogers hasn’t ruled out is the Tour of California, a race in which he ended Levi Leipheimer’s three-year domination. The race announced its start and finish cities last week and with harder stages and a longer time trial on the cards, Rogers could well be tempted to take another transatlantic trip in May.

“Obviously it’s a good race and it looks like it’s getting harder and harder. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in May yet, whether it’s the Giro or Tour of California, but I’d like to go back and defend my title.”

“I’ve seen that they’re planning on having a true mountain top finish and that the time trial is back at Solvang. I’ve got some really good memories of that race, especially Solvang where I spent a lot of time on training camps with HTC.”

“It’s a race that I enjoy and I like coming out of traditional racing in Europe to do races like that and the Tour Down Under. However I’ve not sat down with my coach and figured out a plan for next year.”

After closing out his season at the Worlds, where he helped Allan Davis secure bronze on the men’s road race, and finished fifth in the time trial, Rogers will take a break from the bike for the next five weeks.

“We’ve just finished this season and I need to unplug a bit,” he said.

"I didn’t really have a good lead up to the Worlds. I went to Canada and got sick, and only finished one of the races there. It didn’t come together that well but I was happy with my time trial. Cancellara was in his own league and I was just behind the next guys. There were just four guys better than me on the day.”

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