Michael Rogers Wins Australian Time Trial Championships
Michael Rogers clinched Team Columbia-Highroad's first victory of the 2009 season when he was crowned Australian time trial champion earlier today.
Rogers proved to be on top of his game despite the high winds, an arduous 39 kilometre course and a tough challenge from Cameron Meyer, finally just six seconds down on Rogers.
"I knew Cameron was a threat but when I heard he was just five seconds down on me at the split mid-way through the course I knew what to do," Rogers commented.
"He did a great ride, but I had things under control. No disrespect, but that wasn't too much of a risk. I knew that I had to keep something back for the second part of the course and calculate my strength well. I'd ridden the course several times in the past, I knew it well and had good memories of it. That all helped."
A three times World time trial Champion, for Rogers the result represents a key comeback after two difficult years. In 2007 he was poised to move into yellow in the Tour de France when he crashed out of the race, and the first half of 2008 was blighted by an illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Rogers bounced back with top ten performances in the Olympic road race and time trial but the Australian championships title is his first win since a stage of the Regio Tour in 2006.
"It's been two and a half years without a win, and that's quite a while, so I'm very pleased to be back on the top spot. The Australian Nationals comes at a tricky time so early in the season and there've been years when I've not raced it. But this time round I was really motivated, and after the Olympics I could feel I was on the right track for a result. This season going to be about targeting the races I know I can do well in. Today's event was one of them."
"After years of time trialling at the highest level, including winning the World Championships three times, Michael knows exactly how to approach these events and it all paid off," added Team Columbia sports director Allan Peiper. "Cycling is about succeeding but it's also about coming back after disappointments. Michael certainly proved today he could do that. It was a tricky course, with a big climb right from the start and high winds, too. But Michael's been steadily improving all the way through the 2008 season, from the Tour of Catalonia and the Dauphine to the Olympics and his confidence was high. Taking Team Columbia's first victory of the season will be a great motivator for the rest of the year. Following Adam Hansen's win in the same event in 2008, Rogers victory keeps the time trial title with Columbia for another year.
Both riders, together with new Team Columbia-High Road signing Mark Renshaw, will be racing in the road-race this Sunday, where Rogers is gunning for another victory.
"This win certainly confirms that I have the right condition for it, even if road-racing is always more unpredictable," Rogers argued. "I'm feeling optimistic. Adam wasn't feeling too good for the time trial but I'm sure he'll be back in contention and Mark will be up for the sprints. We've got several different cards to play on the day."