Michael Rogers, the winner of several top end races this year and a key element in Richard Virenque’s winning a sixth polka-dot jersey on the Tour de France, has been named the 2003 Australian Cyclist of the Year.
Rogers, 23, is considered Australia’s main future hope for overall victory in the Tour de France and showed his potential this year when he finished 42nd overall.
The Canberra rider, who rides for the Italian Quick Step team, has been a revelation this year, getting his season off to a great start by winning the Route du Sud, the Tour of Germany and the Tour of Belgium – in all three races his time trialing prowess was key.
Rogers also became the first Australian to claim a medal in the elite men’s road time trial when he rode home for silver, behind winner David Millar of Great Britain, at the World Championships in Hamilton, Canada.
In his Tour de France debut Rogers sacrificed his own ambitions to help teammate Virenque win a record-equaling sixth polka-dot jersey for the race’s best climber.
Tonkov signs with Vini Caldirola
Former Tour of Italy winner Pavel Tonkov is set to ride alongside Italian Stefano Garzelli on the Vini Caldirola team next season, according to press reports in Rome on Saturday.
The 34-year-old Russian veteran, who won the Giro in 1996, is coming off a disastrous year in which a back injury and subsequent surgery ended any hopes he had of competing with his Polsat team.
Tonkov is expected to sign a one-year deal to ride alongside Garzelli, the winner of the 2000 Giro d’Italia, in next year’s race. –Copyright 2003/AFP