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Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) has every reason to smile, after moving one step closer to winning the Tour of California.
Sources confirm that Rogers hasn't signed a contract for 2011
Despite widespread media speculation linking Michael Rogers with a move to Team Sky, sources familiar with the subject have confirmed to Cyclingnews that although the Australian will leave HTC-Columbia at the end of the year his destination has yet to be sealed. The source also confirmed that a number of teams have approached Rogers, but that no contract has been signed yet.
Rogers, who declined to comment, signed a two-year extension with HTC-Columbia at the start of 2009 but according to sources, decided to run his existing contract down. It ends this year, but he is contractually unable to announce that he is leaving the team or say which team he may be joining until later in the year.
Rogers had returned to his winning ways in 2010, after a number of difficult seasons at HTC-Columbia due to injuries and illness. This season he put in a very strong spring, taking the overall win in both the Amgen Tour of California and the Vuelta a Andalucia. Rogers also finished second overall in the Criterium International and third in the Tour de Romandie, taking the same result in the Montepaschi Strade Bianche.
However his early season form dipped in July and he was unable to perform at such high standards in the second half of the Tour de France, leading to the Australian to doubt his future credentials as a GC contender in three-week racing.
Sky is believed to be leading the chase for Rogers’ signature. The British team has had a mixed debut season in the pro ranks. They disappointed in their main objective of the season, the Tour de France, where Bradley Wiggins failed to repeat his 2009 performance and the team came away without a stage or GC success. They have scored a number of impressive wins through the likes of Juan Antonio Flecha, Greg Henderson and Edvald Boasson Hagen amongst others.
Rogers would potentially bolster Sky's GC ambitions, having previously competed for the overall in the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. He is also a three time World time trial champion.
A spokesperson for Team Sky was unable to confirm or deny whether Rogers had signed but did add, “We never talk about any riders we’re talking to and we never talk about riders who are contracted to other teams. Michael is under contract at HTC as far as we’re aware.”
HTC-Columbia declined to comment.