Team Sky has announced former World Time Trial Champion Michael Rogers as its sixth signing for the 2011 season. Rogers, who won the rainbow jersey three years in succession from 2003 and 2005 – the first of those after David Millar was stripped of his title following his ban for doping – joins the British ProTour outfit from HTC-Columbia.
The move is far from unexpected – indeed, team principal Dave Brailsford jumped the gun somewhat in announcing the 30-year-old’s arrival during an interview published last month, forcing Team Sky to produce a rather hasty retraction and acknowledge that he was still under contract to HTC-Columbia and nothing had been signed.
Now that the arrival of Rogers is official, however, Team Sky sports director Sean Yates has expressed his delight at his joining the team, and says that his experience, which includes riding nine Grand Tours with top ten finishes in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, will help the younger riders in the squad.
"Michael is a consummate professional and great addition to the team,” Yates told the Team Sky website. “He has proven himself in big races right throughout his career and that experience will be an invaluable asset to us.
"He takes his job as a bike rider seriously and the younger guys in the team will be able to learn a lot from him.
"He still has a lot of racing in him and is ambitious about what the future holds. I'm expecting him to spearhead a lot of our attacks and am sure he can help us gain some great results."
Rogers, who last season won the overall titles in the Tour of California and the Vuelta a Andalucía is relishing the prospect of lining up for Team Sky next season, saying: "I like the direction and general outlook of the team and am delighted to be here. Having ridden against them this year it was clear to see the team were learning and improving all the time and I expect that to continue next season.
"I already know a lot of guys in the squad so I'm expecting to settle in pretty quickly and am really looking forward to it. I've been lucky enough to ride with some great riders in the past and have learned a lot from them. If they want me to, I am more than happy to pass some of that experience along and I will do whatever I can to help the team's progression.
"In terms of racing, week-long stage races are going to be my main priority at the start of the year but that's not to say I won't be riding Grand Tours anymore. I'm in the peak years of my career and I'd like to think if things go well I could still have something to offer in those races as well. We'll just have to see."
The signing of Rogers takes the number of Australian riders in Team Sky’s ranks to four, taking his place alongside Chris Sutton, Mathew Hayman and Simon Gerrans.
The team’s other five signings confirmed so far during the close season are Davide Appollonio, Alex Dowsett, Jeremy Hunt, Rigoberto Urán and Xabier Zandio.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.