Rogers a boost for Contador
Michael Rogers has moved to Saxo Tinkoff. Photo: Bryn Lennon
The lure of greater opportunities for Michael Rogers will be invaluable for Alberto Contador's quest to regain his Tour de France crown and a loss for Team Sky, fellow Canberran Mathew Hayman says.
Rogers was an integral part of Bradley Wiggins' Tour victory but came off contract at the end of last year and moved to Saxo Tinkoff where he'll be equally as important to Contador this year.
Contador won the world's most prestigious bike race in 2007 and 2009, and was stripped of his 2010 title after testing positive to clenbuterol.
Team Sky's Hayman said there were limited opportunities for Rogers at Team Sky, with his services almost solely devoted to helping Wiggins win the Tour.
He predicted that wouldn't be the case at his new team.
''Contador's obviously said he was looking to the Tour this year,'' Hayman told The Canberra Times.
''Michael might have a few more opportunities. If you look at Team Sky we're pretty packed with [general classification] riders.
''He got a win last year, but there might be a few more opportunities to have a go himself.
''Everything was very much based around Wiggins for that whole lead-up [to the Tour] and was a very intense period for those guys.
''They were pretty much stuck together as a group and had to train with that the sole goal.''
Despite the Wiggins focus at Sky, Rogers still had an impressive ride last year. He won the Bayern-Rundfahrt and finished on the podium in the Criterium International and Criterium du Dauphine.
Rogers also had top-10 finishes in the Tour Down Under, Tour de Romandie and Post Danmark Rundt and was 23rd behind Wiggins in the Tour de France.
The 33-year-old was a three-time time-trial world champion and was leading the 2007 Tour de France when he crashed and was forced out of the race.
It's all that experience that Hayman thought would be the biggest loss for Team Sky, although his riding ability would also be missed.
''[Rogers] had a great Tour last year, everybody saw how well he rode in the Tour and he spent it working tirelessly for [Wiggins and Chris Froome],'' he said.
''The team has also strengthened itself a little bit in the climbing area with some new acquisitions.
''I'm sure they'll be right but I would've liked to stay with him at the same team … It's not just his riding ability, it's experience, too … just someone who's been in those stressful situations before and can keep a cool head when the pressure's on.''