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By Justin Davis – Agence France Presse
Australian cyclist Michael Rogers is looking forward to putting his skills back on the international stage after what has proved to be a trying year for the Columbia Team pro.
Rogers crashed out of the Tour de France last year while in the virtual yellow jersey, and took months to get over his injuries.
He then battled the effects of glandular fever, setting his career back further and effectively costing him a place on his team’s squad for this year’s Tour where his teammates won an impressive five stages.
Rogers returned to competition only fairly recently and he is buoyant over his second place overall in last month’s Tour of Sachsen in Germany, where he finished third in the race’s time trial on stage four.
“My condition’s come to its peak just at the right time,” Rogers said. “I’m pretty glad to get back into condition and make the cut for the Olympic team. I’m on my way to my third Olympics.”
Rogers is also part of Australia’s five-man team for Saturday’s road race, where the logical team leader for the hilly course is Cadel Evans, who last month finished runner-up in the Tour de France for the second consecutive year.
Rogers’ first big personal test will come four days later in the race against the clock, where he will hope to measure up to the likes of two-time world champion Fabian Cancellara.
As a former three-time world time trial champion who finished fourth in Athens in 2004, Rogers has a great chance on paper, although it remains to be seen whether the men who rode the Tour de France will have an advantage.
Rogers’ Olympic time trial spot was secured when Aussie teammate Evans pulled out with a knee injury.
In the meantime, Evans is waiting to see if he will also contest the race against the clock after Olympic bosses gave Australia an extra spot.