Rogers still dreams of Tour de France win
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rogers still dreams of Tour de France win

by Conal Andrews at 7:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 

It’s been a few years since he has been spoken of as a possible winner of the race, but HTC Columbia rider Michael Rogers still entertains thoughts that someday he could challenge for the yellow jersey.

The Australian looked on course to wearing the Maillot Jaune in the 2007 edition, but crashed out of a breakaway group and broke his collarbone. Now 29 years of age, he knows that time is still on his side and has targeted a top ten finish in this year’s Tour.

"I'm not saying I'm going to win the Tour de France, because not many people can say that, but I want to give it a go and give it my best," Rogers told AAP.

"That's everyone's dream and why not? - anything can happen. The favourites can puncture, the favourites can crash. You've got to hang on to a hope and never abandon that, it's what we do."

Rogers, who has been world time trial champion on three occasions, finished ninth overall in the 2006 Tour de France. He went back the following year determined to improve on this but had that bad crash; twelve months later, he missed out on the event when he came down with the Epstein-Barr virus.

He admits now that he was close to quitting the sport, but was encouraged to keep going by Australian Institute of Sport physiologist Dr Dave Martin.

“I came within inches of retiring," he said. “That's the ups and downs of the sport, the ups and downs of any job, probably - everyone goes through hard times. He (Dr Martin) reminded me of the things I'd done in the past and tried to encourage me to just get back into a basic level of fitness.

"I always tried probably for a couple of years to do too much on my own, whereas I had a lot of people who were willing to help, I was just a little bit scared to ask."

Last year he showed that he could still perform well in Grand Tours when he placed eighth overall in the Giro d’Italia. That position is likely to improve to seventh after Danilo di Luca’s disqualification. He returned to the Tour de France, but sacrificed his personal ambitions to help Mark Cavendish take six stage wins.

Recent indications from the HTC Columbia team suggested that riders such as Tony Martin and Rogers would have to work again for Cavendish this July, with the Green Jersey the team’s biggest target. However directeur sportif Allan Peiper hints that the Australian might have a bit more freedom than that.

"He's come back, he's re-stated himself at the top of cycling again and now wants to have a great crack at the Tour, see what he can do,” he stated.

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