Australian set for fourth Olympic Games
After his 2011 season was plagued by illness Michael Rogers (Team Sky) is back in business as the Australian heads towards a likely ride in this year's Tour de France.
The 32-year-old has formed part of a strong core of stage race talent at Sky this season, helping the team to overall titles in Volta ao Algarve, Paris - Nice, Tour de Romandie and winning two stages and the overall at Bayern-Rundfahrt himself.
Although the team's Tour de France line-up is yet to be announced, Rogers, currently riding in support of Bradley Wiggins at the Dauphiné, looks to be an almost automatic selection.
"Nothing is confirmed yet," Rogers told Cyclingnews from the team bus at the end of the Dauphiné's third stage.
"I think the team will make the decision after the Tour de Suisse. They're weighing up who is going the best and in the best condition. I think that's a very clear policy that the team has and everyone is fine with that."
Rogers is a veteran of seven Tour starts and knows the importance of the Tour for Sky, who in Wiggins, has a genuine contender for the maillot jaune.
"We've got a massive opportunity to win the Tour and we'll concentrate on that," he said, before adding that Wiggins's qualities as a team leader have been instrumental in Sky's performances this year.
"He's certainly not a pushy type compared to some leaders. He commands respect from everyone and he gets that through his commitment and the amount of work he's done in the last few years. He's put his results on the board and shown time after time during the year that he's serious and that he's there to win.
Wiggins will share leadership in July as Mark Cavendish looks to defend his green jersey before the Olympics. Rogers, having ridden with both riders at Highroad Sports believes that Cavendish will be well supported, even if the team aren't solely based around him.
"Mark will have some riders to help him too. In the past he's had an entire team based around him but I think he's a class act and can win numerous stages without the help of a whole team."
Like his Tour selection Rogers must also wait for Cycling Australia to announce their line up for the Olympics Games in London. Having competed in Athens and Beijing on the road (and he was also a member of the team pursuit on the track in Sydney), Rogers will be looking to banish memories of the 2004 time trial where he initially finished fourth. He was forced to go through the same anti-doping tests as the podium placers the following day and then watched on as the medals were handed out.
Tyler Hamilton later handed back his gold after admitting to doping in his career, with Rogers set to pick up a bronze. However, according to Rogers, no medal can make up for the disappointment of missing the initial celebrations in 2004.
"The Olympics are a highlight for any athlete. I've been time trialing well this year but once again the team will be confirmed after the Tour of Switzerland. I don't know any more than anyone else so I'm just waiting to find out if I'm selected."
"As for 2004...I don't have regrets in my career and it's one thing to get the medal, which hasn't happened yet but it's frustrating because it's a special memory to stand on the podium at an Olympics and my family were over from Australia so obviously I'm quite angry about that."
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