There's a lot of talk around the coffee shops in Ballarat on who will take the golden prize in the men's elite road race this Sunday, writes Mike Tomalaris.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

There's a lot of talk around the coffee shops here in Ballarat on who
will take the golden prize in the men's elite road race this Sunday.

Check
out the calibre of rider and it's fair to say it's got to be one of the
most open fields Open's 12 year history.

But I'm not so sure.

Personally,
I'd say Michael Rogers is the short priced favourite.

I mean
everything points to "Dodger" delivering the goods after his
disappointment at finishing second around Mount Buninyong last year
behind Peter McDonald.

From all accounts Rogers is much lighter
than we've come to know him which suggests he's been training the house
down - not sure how that's possible in the snow-affected climes of
northern Italy where he was up until Christmas.

By not appearing
in his pet event - the time trial - last Wednesday, it suggests he's
focused only on the the green and gold jersey that comes with the spoils
of the road race champion.

Let's face it, Rogers has nothing to
prove in the race-against-the-clock. After all, he's a triple world
champion and a national champion of his country.

If you look at
his career record, it shows it's been several years since he won a stage
race - seven years in fact when he took overall honours at the Tour of
Germany, his last major victory.

By finishing on the podium in
last year's wet and wintry Tour of California he proved he still has
what it takes to be competitive a big event, and he was still in the
hunt for the Maglia Rosa at the Giro three months later, only to
falter in the all-important time trial.

Was that the turning
point in his decision to review his career objectives?

At 30,
Rogers is at an age where simply relying on the TT for success may be
too difficult.

I've got my fingers that all will fall into place
in 2010 starting with collecting the national jersey and wearing it with
pride on the roads of Europe.