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Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC), the reigning Australian time trial champion, will not defend his title at the upcoming national championships in order to focus on the road race title.
Reigning national time trial champion, thrice world champion to skip Aussie time trial
Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) says he has 'unfinished business' with the Australian national road race, an event in which he took the silver medal last year. "Ten years ago people might have said 'what jersey is that?' when they saw the Australian national champion, but not any more," said Rogers. "It's a very prestigious jersey to wear, and everyone knows that. Last year in the race there was a bit of an unexpected sprint, and I missed out, so there's definitely some sort of 'unfinished business'."
Rogers says he has had his best off-season ever, reaching all his training targets throughout the November and December period. "I did about 100 days racing in 2009, both the Giro and the Tour, so I stopped straight after the World Championships, had a good long rest, and then got into training for 2010.
"I've worked really well. I'm three kilos lighter than I was this time last year, and I've built up some very good endurance. Hopefully it will be a hard race, because that will suit me better."
Rogers is the defending Australian time trial champion, but this year the 30-year-old will be focusing only on the 163-kilometre road race on January 10th. His Columbia-HTC teammates Leigh Howard and Matt Goss will also be taking part. "It's a very tough course, not overly long but long enough, and although there's just the one climb, we do it sixteen times and it's usually very hot, too. It'll be a race of attrition.
"For the Australian amateurs the nationals is their last event of the season and they're all in great shape, so it's very hard to control. And of course, if they beat the professionals they get a lot of bragging rights! But with the team we've got there, we've certainly got the force and talent to achieve a good result."