Michael Rogers' move from Team Sky to Saxo-Tinkoff Bank at the end of 2012 was one of the more surprising transfers of last season. It wasn't just the fact that Sky had lost one of their most important riders, but also the timing of the transfer, which came within weeks of the British team asking all their staff to sign an anti-doping declaration.
However, the Australian has told Cyclingnews that the move was simply down to financials, with Saxo-Tinkoff offering him a more lucrative two-year deal that will probably see him through to his retirement.
"I was negotiating and I was still negotiating with Sky and we came close to a deal but at the end of the day there was simply a better offer for me at Saxo Bank," Rogers told Cyclingnews at the Dauphine.
"I had better financial details here. So contrary to what most people thought, and everyone thought that Sky kind of got rid of me, it was my decision to leave. I mean, I'm in the last couple of years of my career."
Rogers was an integral cog in Sky's 2012 Tour de France winning machine. His experience as a road captain, coupled with his pace-setting abilities in the mountains, made him one of the most respected super-domestiques in the bunch.
Sky's zero-tolerance stance on doping came after the USADA report into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. Bobby Julich and Stephen de Jongh, the former of which was a redacted name in the report, were forced to leave the team after admitting to doping during times in their careers. Sky's pledge involved all staff having to sign a document stating that they had never taken drugs in sport, nor been part of any doping practices.
"I went through the same meetings as everyone, I signed it," Rogers told Cyclingnews.
However, within weeks Rogers had moved teams and joined Saxo Bank, where he has become one of Alberto Contador's most important teammates.
At the time speculation was rife that Rogers had left the team due his work with the controversial figure, Dr Michele Ferrari. The Australian has gone on the record before about his ties to the Italian doctor, but has always stressed that he used his services for training and nothing more. Further to that, he was named in Levi Leipheimer's testimony with regards to attending s high-altitude training camps at Tenerife, with Ferrari.
Cyclingnews asked Rogers if he understood why there had been speculation surrounding his move to Saxo Bank and that his move was in some way linked to Sky's stance.
"It did look like that, yes, those things did coincide and I didn't go on the record either but I didn't feel that it was necessary. A lot of people wrote big things about it but there wasn't anything behind that. It was just sensationalist headlines."
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