Roberts ready for ProTour return in 2010
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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Roberts ready for ProTour return in 2010

by Nick Mulder at 3:01 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Australian Olympic Champion Luke Roberts is eager to forget 2009 as he sets his sights on returning to the highest level of sport next year with German ProTour formation Milram. Roberts’ role on the team is to be the main leadout man for their sprinter Gerald Ciolek.

Roberts, 32, hopes that his new one-year contract will resurrect a career that once saw him capture team pursuit gold medals at three World Championships and two Commonwealth Games.
The Australian will be making his first appearance in Milram colors next year at the Australian Time Trial and Open Road Championships.

“This time I am definitely ready to roll,” Roberts said today to Australia’s SBS. “I will be going to Buninyong with the best form I have ever had. I have had my break and I have been training solidly since mid-October, something which I’ve never done before.”

Despite his tough year and the depth of the Australian talent, Roberts thinks he’s ready to go for gold again.

“I realize the opposition will be tough,” he explained, “especially in the time trial where young gun Cameron Meyer will be hard to beat. He is a huge talent, but I would like to win a national title on the road before I retire. A Tour de France stage win and a world individual pursuit title would also be nice.”

Roberts had a tough season in 2009. He broke his hip in February, and along with it, his chances of having a successful year on the road. Milram however still saw the value of having the fast track rider in their leadout train for sprinter Ciolek, and have tasked him to help them challenge rival Columbia-HTC and their sprinter Mark Cavendish.

Roberts is set to ride the Giro d’Italia where his role will be to deliver former under-23 World Champion Ciolek in the sprint finishes. A successful run in Italy could pave the way for his return to the Tour de France.

“If things go well in the Giro, the Tour de France is a real possibility,” said Roberts. “I am pretty happy at the moment. I have the chance to spend a month in Australia, then it’s full-on in Europe.”

The Australian spent three years with Bjarne Riis’ Team CSC before two seasons with German continental team Kuota Indeland.

Along with his world championship medals and wins in the Commonwealth Games, Roberts has two second place finishes in individual pursuit at the World Championships (2002 and 2003). On the road he has won stages in the Tour down Under (2001), Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt (2004), Drei-Länder Tour (2006) and the South African Giro del Capo (2008). The strong time trialist also scored third place finishes at the Bayern Rundfahrt (2006) and the Tour of Britain (2007).


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