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Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) is the new leader of the Amgen Tour of California.
Brailsford denies deal is done
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford has refuted reports that the British team has signed Michael Rogers for 2011, although he has confirmed that he has talked to the experienced Australian, who is leaving HTC-Columbia at the end of the season.
Brailsford was quoted in an interview as saying Rogers had signed with the British team along with Alex Dowsett, Rigoberto Urán and Xabier Zandio. The news was picked up via other media in Australia and Europe. However, Brailsford told Cyclingnews he had been misquoted.
“We were asked about the recent speculation about Michael joining Team Sky during an interview. I can confirm that we’ve spoken to him but we don’t talk about riders who are contracted to other teams until the end of the season,” Brailsford said.
Rogers told Cyclingnews that he will leave HTC-Columbia at the end of the current season but has not revealed his plans for the future. After a difficult 2008 and 2009 due to illness and injury, Rogers won both the Amgen Tour of California and the Vuelta a Andalucia. He also finished second overall in the Criterium International and third in the Tour de Romandie. He finished fifth in the recent time trial world championships in Australia.
Rogers’ stage race experience, his time trial ability and valuable UCI World ranking points make him an attractive proposition for many teams and Team Sky is believed to be leading the chase for his signature. However, he is under contract with HTC-Columbia until the end of the season.
Now almost 31, Rogers recently told Cyclingnews he intends to focus on week-long stage races in the future instead of the Tour de France.
“I think I really found my niche as a cyclist. The Tour de France is really only good for a few people who can actually say they can win but I was really good and competitive in week long stage races,” he said.
“When I’m in good condition and there’s a week-long race with a time trial, I know I can win them all. I’d be crazy not to concentrate on that.”