With two world time trial championships now under his belt, Michael Rogers is shifting his focus away from the chrono and towards Le Tour. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes caught up with Rogers in recent days, talking to him about a new approach in 2005, his preparations for the Tour de France and the increased pressure he feels after the retirement of former Quick.Step team-mate Richard Virenque.
Although Australian rider Michael Rogers is still just 25 years of age, he has already has two world time trial championships in his palmares. Now he is turning his focus towards the Tour de France, hoping to build on his 22nd place of 2004. Rogers has shown solid form thus far this season, climbing well in the recent Coppi-Bartali week in Italy. The time between now and the Tour start on July 2nd is about building on that condition, working hard to ensure that he is in the best possible shape on the start ramp in Fromentine.
He has said in the past that his goal is to win the Tour before he stops cycling; staking everything on this year's contest is an important step along the way, in terms of learning more about his capabilities and the delicate art of peaking for the world's biggest bike race.
Cyclingnews: You did quite well at the recent Settimana Internazionale Coppi-Bartali, placing ninth overall there...
Michael Rogers: Yeah, towards the end it was a pretty close race. There weren't really stages where you could make a whole lot of difference. We lost some time in the team time trial. But to finish ninth was positive. Up until now everything is on track for the Tour.
CN: So you are happy with your form at this point?
MR: Yes. There is still a lot of work to do, though. Now for me comes one of the hardest times of the season with a lot of work ahead, but I am really looking forward to it.
CN: What will you do between now and the Tour?
MR: I am going the Tour of the Basque Country and then in May I will probably do the Tour of Catalunya and then probably the Tour of Switzerland. Then the Tour itself.
Click here to read the rest of the interview.