Update: Dave Brailsford denies reports Michael Rogers has signed for Team Sky
News comes as Russ Downing's contract extended by a year after great debut season
Team Sky's team principal Dave Brailsford has denied reports that former World Time Trial Champion Michael Rogers has signed from HTC-Columbia, carried by newspapers including the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Australian newspaper had said that 30-year-old, who last year won the Tour of California and the Vuelta a Andalucia, was expected to join Team Sky to focus on one-week stage races.
Rogers finished fifth in the time trial at the World Road Championships at Geelong a fortnight ago, having previously won the rainbow jersey in the event three times in a row from 2003 to 2005, the first of those coming after Britain’s David Millar was stripped of his title after confessing to doping.
However, in a statement on the Team Sky website, Brailsford said that he had been misquoted. "We were asked about the recent speculation about Michael joining Team Sky during an interview," he said. "I can confirm that we have spoken to him but we don't talk about riders who are contracted to other teams until the end of the season."
That doesn't mean that Rogers, who has stated that he is leaving HTC-Columbia at the end of the season, won't join Team Sky, but talk of a done deal seems premature.
Although the Australian's contract expires at the end of the season, the British ProTour team is likely to be sensitive to speculation after it attracted criticism in the way it signed Bradley Wiggins from Garmin-Slipstream and Ben Swift from Katusha, both of whom were under contract.
Last month, Team Sky announced that it had signed young British prospect Alex Dowsett from Trek-Livestrong as well as the Caisse d’Epargne riders Rigoberto Urán and Xabier Zandio.
Meanwhile, the team has confirmed that it has extended Russ Downing’s contract by one year. The 32-year-old Yorkshireman, who joined the ProTour outfit last year from CandiTV Marshalls Pasta, has enjoyed a successful debut season with the team, winning the overall in the Tour de Walonnie and a stage in the Criterium International.