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Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) at the finish at Morzine-Avoriaz
Australian attracted by team's management structure
Michael Rogers has signed a two-year deal with Team Sky. The 30-year-old will join up with the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Edvald Boasson Hagen, and spearhead the team in week-long stages races and the Tour de France.
“Sky was looking to bolster their team. I started speaking to them some weeks ago and we came to a deal and finally sealed it,” Rogers told Cyclingnews this morning.
Rogers returned to his winning ways in 2010 after a number of difficult seasons 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.
He will now join up with a contingent of ex-High Road riders that includes Boasson Hagen, Michael Barry, Greg Henderson, Thomas Lovkvist and Morris Possini. However it was the management structure, as well as the roster at Sky, that helped to convince him to change teams.
“I know a lot of the riders like Michael Barry and Thomas Lovkvist quite well. With regards to the management I’ve speaking to Dave Brailsford and Shane Sutton, who I’ve known for more than ten years. With my results, especially this year and my experience I think I was a person that made sense for them,” Rogers said.
“I really like where the way the team is heading. I really liked the project and the technical side of things, that’s something that’s really interested me throughout my career. They’ve revolutionised track racing and that’s a tough thing to do, and now they’re working hard on the road. No team comes into their first year and has a perfect year straight away. I’m just a part of getting the team where they want it in the future.”
As for his race programme, Rogers will wait until the team’s first get-together before finalising his schedule. However, with November 1 also marking his first day back in training, he already had an idea on the races he will target.
“I’d rather have a year like I did this year and win the Tour of California or have a go at the Tour de Suisse than go all out for the Tour. With regards to the Tour, certainly I’ll be there but as for what role, that’s not been decided yet. The Tour is a very important goal for the team and I can’t name one rider that doesn’t want to have a good ride or win a stage.”
Conceivably, Rogers could find himself fulfilling a role he undertook at HTC-Columbia while coming back from illness in 2009, when he worked as part of Mark Cavendish’s train as well as helping GC riders. With a career spanning two decades, his experience and cool-headedness will be an invaluable aid in Sky’s Tour ambitions.
“Winning the Tour, that takes time. You can’t just rock up to the Tour and win it. It’s a thing that takes time and it’s such a hard race to perform well in. It might take a couple of years to get to that stage. It’s no easy feat but it’s something we’ll work on and there’s no reason why we can’t do it.”
Rogers also aims to carry on racing for the next five years.
“I’ve only ridden for a handful of teams. Mapei Quickstep, then the last team which changed sponsors a few times,” he said.
“I’d like to do another five years but we’ll see how it goes. If the team continues and the structure is fine and I’m enjoying being there, I can see myself riding the rest of my career there. I’ll have to work on my British accent though.”