By Les Clarke in Wanze
Triple time trial world champion Michael Rogers is riding his first grand tour for new team T-Mobile, and with a new-look management at the helm of the boys in magenta, Rogers is keen to cement his place as one of the team's mainstays during 2006, as he told Cyclingnews before stage four of the Giro in Wanze.
His goals for the Giro aren't too lofty, but the Australian is clearly in good shape and ready to put some tough racing miles into his legs while helping the team. "I not only came here for training and preparation, but I came here to have a good time trial," said Rogers. "Things are going well at the moment; I'm tenth in classification but I have no ambitions for the final classification - the last week is certainly too hard for me," he said, before adding that, "For the first ten days the idea is to do as much as possible."
It's a great opportunity for Rogers to prepare for the Tour de France, and althought there's work to done in Italy, he's definitely got an eye on July. "I haven't had heaps of racing this year up until now - I've come here with about 20 days of racing, so it's not really much," he explained. "I think I need this Giro, and it's a bit of a trial for me too; I've never done two major tours in one year, so maybe it could be a really good thing for me," he said.
That preparation will greatly assist Rogers in his role as a helper for Jan Ullrich in the mountains of France during the Tour, which is one of his main goals for 2006. "I'll be there [at the Tour] to help Jan - that's why I came to T-Mobile, why they hired me. I'm sure Jan will be in really top shape and we've got a strong team," said Rogers. But would Rogers be willing to put his hand up if Ullrich experienced difficulties, which is all part of his role at the team? "Yeah, certainly. We all know the Tour can be wide open and it's certainly going to be a different race without Armstrong there," he said.
With Australian Scott Davis on the team, it's a different situation for Rogers than the one faced by countryman Cadel Evans in his two years at the German squad. How is Rogers enjoying having Davis on the roster? "It's fantastic - Scotty and I pretty much grew up together, so it's great to have him on the team," said Rogers. "It's great to train together and having an Aussie alongside you is always a positive thing."
Rogers explained that he hadn't really spoken to Evans about his experiences at T-Mobile, preferring instead to come with a clear head and a fresh approach to his new team. "Cadel didn't have a very good experience [at T-Mobile], but that doesn't mean it's the same for everyone," said Rogers. "Up till now it's all been very positive for me, and everyone reacts differently to the same team because we all have a different character," he explained.