Michael Rogers has announced that he will leave Team Sky to race for SaxoBank-Tinkoff next season.
The 32-year-old Australian champion cyclist was part of the team that rode Bradley Wiggins to a Tour win in this year's Tour de France, but it's not an entirely surprising move.
His contract expires at the end of this month, and although his move to Saxo-Tinkoff is not directly related to Sky's stringent anti-doping review process, he was Implicated in the USADA report that led to Lance Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour titles.
Rogers admitted some weeks ago to Fairfax Media in Australia that his decision to consult banned Italian doctor Michele Ferrari was a mistake that may have ‘‘tainted’’ his reputation.
The visits to the banned doping doctor took place in 2005 and 2006. Team Sky have refused to comment on whether Rogers signed their zero-tolerance anti-doping charter.
In 2004 Rogers won an Olympic bronze for the road time trial, and had a successful year in 2012, winning the Bayern-Rundfahrt and coming second only to teammate Bradleuy Wiggins in the Criterium du Dauphine.
He has been world time trial champion three years running, from 2003 to 2005.
It will be a loss to Team Sky though, who have their hopes set on the Giro d'Italia with Bradley Wiggins, and a second Tour win from Chris Froome.
“I think Michael’s palmares pretty much speaks for itself,” said SaxoBank team boss Bjarne Riis, quoted in Road Cycling UK. “He is without a doubt a world class rider, a very strong time triallist who is also capable of climbing, and on top of that he is a great guy.
“Surely he will add strength to our team throughout the season and I believe he will be a very important rider for us, both when it comes to helping Alberto [Contador] in Grand Tours and to secure results on his own.”
Rogers added: ”I’m very excited to be joining an extremely strong and experienced squad at SaxoBank-Tinkoff for the coming seasons.
“I feel I can have a positive effect particularly during stage races ranging from just a few days right through to the Grand Tours. I certainly look forward to the many new challenges that lay ahead.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.