They say every rider has at least one bad day over an three week GrandTour. Unfortunately, in the stage 12 time trial it was the turn ofMichael Rogers.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

They say every rider has at least one bad day over a three week Grand
Tour. Unfortunately, in the stage 12 time trial it was the turn of
Michael Rogers.

Australia's big hope at the Giro d'Italia was far from his best on a course that many commentators described as "epic".

Look
at the profile and vision and you'll see it was one on which Rogers
never really felt comfortable - he looked to be at odds with himself as
he struggled on the climbs which rose to around 500 metres.

It
was technical and brutal and not the type of terrain Rogers raced over
when winning three time-trial world championships and this year's
Australian title in Ballarat.

The Giro organisers are
renowned for marching to the beat of a different drummer when it comes
to designing a race that challenges riders.

As a pre-race favourite the Italian TV cameras were well focused on Rogers when he left the starters ramp.

They
wanted to cover every move of a rider who has an affinity with Italians
- after all he's married to one and has called Italy home for the best
of the last 10 years.

But it was puzzling to see how slowly
he was travelling in the early part, and quite obvious he was in some
pain when the cameras cut away and compared his form to main rival Levi
Leipheimer.

Rogers cleared the first time check almost 1:20 behind Leipheimer.

From there we didn't see him again until he crossed the finish line in Riomaggiore - such was the sudden lack of interest from the host broadcasters.

In a Giro dominated by Rogers and his Columbia-Highroad team, the performance came as somewhat of a shock.

Has Rogers lost some of his edge in the time trials as he looks to improve his climbing and his Grand Tour chances?

After
clinching a place on the podium at the Tour of California earlier this
year, I was convinced he would go close to beating all-comes in Italy
this month.

But after losing so much time to Menchov, I'm
forced to review my aspirations for Rogers and I'm wondering what his
strategy will be with plenty of racing still to come.

All is not lost for Rogers, he's still in contact with the contenders for the GC, with riders like Ivan Basso and Lance Armstrong behind him and others like Carlos Sastre just ahead.

And now that he has control of the race, Denis Menchov still has many of his own questions to answer. He is also a rider that has experienced his own bad days in a Grand Tour.

While
the time-trial succeeded in sorting out the pretenders from the
contenders it was not the defining moment in the race, the mountain top
finish at Blockhaus on stage seventeen now looks to be that moment.

So,
is it best for Rogers to attack and sacrifice everything for the big
climbs ahead or maybe save his legs for an assault on the Tour de France in July?

Either way, it's not the time to give up on a rider who still has plenty to offer and plenty to prove.