'Huge task' ahead for Sky says Rogers

Michael Rogers at the 2012 Mars Australian national road championships. Photo: Mark Gunter
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Michael Rogers admits Sky’s endeavour to chase the yellow and the green jersey at this year’s Tour de France is a “huge task” adding it’s up to his team to make it work.

The British-based outfit has set the objective of supporting Bradley Wiggins for the overall classification as well as new recruit and reigning points champion Mark Cavendish at the 2012 Grand Tour.

“We had a team meeting in November,” Rogers said before pausing. “Team management just said to us, ‘Start to think about it and how we can make the team work’.

“It’s not an easy task. It’s a huge task. Teams have tried and teams have failed and teams have succeeded.

“I think as the sport becomes more and more specialised, it’s getting harder and harder to go into the race with dual goals or triple goals. In the last couple of years teams have gone to the Tour just about one thing whether that’s overall or (something else). (At) HTC, we went to the Tour just with Cav on our minds, especially a year like 2009.”

In 2009 Cavendish, with the aid of his now defunct HTC-Highroad squad, won six stages. However, his stage victory domination may have to be scaled back at this year’s Tour to meet the team’s dual aims.

“I think every team just has to find their own way, their own path,” Rogers said.

“Cav, he’s shown his superiority in the last couple of years. If he has a whole team around him, yeah, he wins five stages. It might be that if he doesn’t have a whole team he might win four, three, I don’t know,” he continued.

It’s not uncommon for teams to adopt dual aims but Cavendish has become accustomed to having a team built more or less solely around him at the Tour as has Wiggins in recent years.

It’ll be an engaging test but one that has not been pulled off since the German Telekom squad won overall and points with Jan Ullrich and Erik Zabel, respectively, some 14 years ago.

Despite working with the Manx sprinter as part of a well-drilled lead-out in the past the triple time-trial world champion Rogers anticipates he’ll be more closely aligned with Wiggins’s program at the Tour and throughout the season.

“I’d be more weighed towards Wiggins I’d presume,” he said. “There for him in the mountains and also for general support and making decisions on the road.”

Rogers is in Adelaide for the Tour Down Under, which doubles as the first WorldTour race of the season. The 2010 Tour of California champion as well as Norwegian teammate and two-time Tour de France stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen are genuine overall contenders at the six-stage race that Rogers won in 2002.

Twitter: @SophieSmith86

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