Rogers will continue targeting strong Grand Tour performances with move to Team Sky
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Monday, November 01, 2010

Rogers will continue targeting strong Grand Tour performances with move to Team Sky

by VeloNation Press at 9:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Australian’s long-rumoured transfer from HTC Columbia finally confirmed by British team

Michael RogersConfirmed today as moving to Team Sky from HTC Columbia, Australian rider Michael Rogers has laid out his ambitions for 2011. After this year’s Tour he appeared to write off his chances of taking a high finish in another Grand Tour, but he is backtracking slightly on that and doesn’t want to dismiss his prospects just yet.

"In terms of racing, week-long stage races are going to be my main priority at the start of the year,” the 30 year old said, “but that's not to say I won't be riding Grand Tours anymore. I'm in the peak years of my career and I'd like to think if things go well I could still have something to offer in those races as well. We'll just have to see.”

Moving from HTC Columbia to Team Sky changes the focus on things for Rogers. His current team is based primarily around helping Mark Cavendish winning sprint stages, and any GC aspirations are secondary to that. Team Sky doesn’t have a proven sprint winner of Tour stages, and has made it clear that it wants to develop into a team that can challenge for the overall title.

That puts riders like Rogers back into the focus for the general classification, be it for himself or to help another rider finish strongly. Bradley Wiggins was off form last July, but if he can return to the sort of condition that earned him fourth place in the 2009 Tour de France, he will need riders who can ride well in the high mountains and who are also strong in team time trials and in dragging the bunch along. Rogers could fit that bill.

During the Tour of Britain in early September, he was said to be heading to Team Sky. Team principal Dave Brailsford appeared to confirm that in an interview, but later backtracked and claimed he had been misquoted. However the news was correct, and team sports director Sean Yates said that he was excited by the new signing.

“Michael is a consummate professional and great addition to the team. He has proven himself in big races right throughout his career and that experience will be an invaluable asset to us,” he said.

Rogers turned professional a decade ago with the Mapei team and later switched to the Quick Step-Davitamon Squad. He has been with the T-Mobile/HTC Columbia setup since 2006. Moving to Team Sky will enable him to share what he has learned in that time.

"He takes his job as a bike rider seriously and the younger guys in the team will be able to learn a lot from him,” said Yates. “He still has a lot of racing in him and is ambitious about what the future holds. I'm expecting him to spearhead a lot of our attacks and am sure he can help us gain some great results.”

The triple world time trial champion had a strong season, winning the Tour of California and the Vuelta a Andalucia, and also finishing second in the Critérium International and third in both Tour de Romandie and the Montepaschi Strade Bianche.

That early racing sapped his strength for the Tour, and so he is likely to look at rejigging his programme next year. A fresh start with a new team should give him a fresh perspective on things.

“I like the direction and general outlook of the team and am delighted to be here. Having ridden against them this year it was clear to see the team were learning and improving all the time and I expect that to continue next season,” he said.

"I already know a lot of guys in the squad so I'm expecting to settle in pretty quickly and am really looking forward to it. I've been lucky enough to ride with some great riders in the past and have learned a lot from them.

“If they want me to, I am more than happy to pass some of that experience along and I will do whatever I can to help the team's progression.”

He joins a number of other new signings, namely Davide Appollonio, Alex Dowsett, Jeremy Hunt, Rigoberto Urán and Xabier Zandio. The team is heading into its second season and it wants to step things up in terms of results.

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