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Michael Rogers leads Alberto Contador near the front of the peloton
Australian set to play key support role for Contador
Michael Rogers will be lining up for his ninth Tour de France next week and following his key role in Sky's victory for Bradley Wiggins in 2012, he has the potential for a repeat performance with Alberto Contador at Saxo–Tinkoff.
Rogers, 33, has returned to form in recent months, finishing runner-up to Tejay van Garderen (BMC) at the Tour of California and then sixth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
"Personally, a victory by Alberto in the 2013 Tour de France would be a huge thrill and feel of achievement," Rogers said. "When you see how much passion and belief Alberto has day in and day out in what he is doing, it's impossible to not feel emotional. Like all great leaders he brings the best out of his team and I can't wait to get things going."
Rogers has been named in a Saxo-Tinkoff line-up for the Tour which includes Contador, Roman Kreuziger, Nicolas Roche, Benjamin Noval, Matteo Tosatto, Daniele Bennati and Sergio Paulinho.
The Australian, who was maillot jaune virtuel on Stage 8 in 2007 only to crash out shortly after on the descent of the Cormet de Roseland said he was excited to be headed to the start line in Corsica.
"I see myself as playing an important role in the last half of the race," Rogers explained. "Certainly in the high mountains and transition stages. The final week is looking to be the hardest."
It's not surprising that Rogers names former teammate Chris Froome (Sky) as one of Contador's main rivals for the top step on the podium come July 21 but also suggested that Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) with his top-10 finishes at the Tour de Romandie and the Dauphiné could not be discounted.
"I see Froome and Valverde as the biggest rivals," said Rogers. "Froome has been at a high level all year while Valverde has been progressing slowly. But saying that, I'm sure there will be others who will put themselves into contention with long breaks in the last ten days of the Tour."