Rogers aims for top start with Sky

Three-times world time trial champion Michael Rogers arrived back in Australia today for the Australian Open Road Championships, declaring: "I still have a lot to give, I'm not finished yet."

Rogers, 31, whose preparation for the championships was hampered by recent fiercely-cold weather in his northern Italy home base, will ride for the powerful British team Sky this year - a move he described as "pretty exciting."

Rogers enjoyed an excellent 2010 with the HTC-Highroad team, winning the prestigious Tour of California and finishing eighth in the world time trial championship in Geelong.

He will have his first hit-out for Team Sky in the men's road race at the national championships in Buninyong on Sunday when he will be joined by new team-mates Simon Gerrans, Mat Hayman, Chris Sutton and England's Ben Swift.

"Simon is in pretty good shape and we have a few guys who can support him," Rogers said. "We are in with a great chance to win."

Rogers acknowledges that the 160-man field is the strongest since the men's open road championship was introduced on to the Australian cycling calendar in 1999.

His opponents will include 10 other riders who have ridden the Tour de France, including Robbie McEwen, Allan Davis, Mark Renshaw, Baden Cook and Wes Sulzberger.

"It's the best field ever," he said. "I am no longer one of the younger ones. I am one of the older ones."

Rogers still laments his second placing in the 2009 road race when outsprinted to the line by Sydney's unheralded Peter McDonald after he and HTC team-mate Adam Hansen looked to have the title all parceled up.

He had earlier won the time trial at those championships but will not contest that race at Learmonth on January 11.

"I am not going too bad but it's been a pretty tough winter at home and I've missed a bit of preparation," he said.

"It's great to see such a magnificent line-up for the championships. They're getting bigger and bigger."

The Australian Open Road Championships will be held in the Ballarat region from January 6 – 11, starting with the criterium titles in Sturt Street at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Cycling Australia has received nearly 700 entries across the board for the nine events.

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