Michael Rogers quits Team Sky for Alberto Contador's Saxobank-Tinkoff

Perhaps unsurprising move for Australian who says Ferrari connection may have 'tainted' him

by Sarah Barth   December 8, 2012  

Amgen Tour of California stage 6 Peter Sagan 1st, Rory Sutherland 2nd, Michael Rogers 3rd / Photosport International

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.”

12 user comments

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It was inevitable that he went with Sky's zero tolerance.

Shame though as he was a good rider for Sky.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2667 posts]
8th December 2012 - 20:21

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Sky's "no comment"on Rogers signing of the zero tolerance policy speaks volumes, as does his past association with the Dr. of doping, Ferrari. Sky's no comment only serves to bolster the code of silence omerta that put cycling in the position it is currently in. Bad move sky.

Michael R. Smith

posted by American tifosi [37 posts]
8th December 2012 - 21:44

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I'm not sure how much Sky's management team have to do with encouraging the recent culls - the anti-doping at all costs must be written into the contract with the sponsors - because Brailsford and co knew what they were getting into when they entered the sport. Reckon the recent Armstrong saga must have freaked out the money men enough into completely sweeping the boards. I'm sure Brailsford is seething behind the scenes. But i agree, doesn't set a good example, and there's still no news on them signing up to MPCC.

posted by edhonrada [5 posts]
9th December 2012 - 3:30

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If Rogers is a doper, then joining Bertie (LA's heir as king of the dopers) is a natural move. They can mainline the stuff together Devil

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [210 posts]
9th December 2012 - 9:21

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Sky's anti doping stance seems to be about keeping up appearances. Afterall, they've only started to 'implememt' their founding policy of not employing staff with a connection to doping AFTER winning the Tour. My suspicions is that they are pushing the envelope of what is legal (or not illegal).

posted by daddyELVIS [384 posts]
9th December 2012 - 11:33

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Sad to see Rogers go. He was a great super-domestique for Sky

new-to-cycling's picture

posted by new-to-cycling [47 posts]
9th December 2012 - 18:05

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When Bjarne Riis, states that “Surely he will add strength to our team throughout the season and I believe he will be a very important rider for us, when it comes to helping Alberto [Contador] in Grand Tours"

As what a butcher perhaps? Devil Devil Devil

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [571 posts]
10th December 2012 - 10:10

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All teams will naturally push the envelope of whats legal..same in all sports. I stand by Sky 100% and anyone who really wants to see the sport cleaned up should think the same - Sky are a genuine sponsor not a rich benefactor and as such their reputation is on the line. Good on them.

posted by NeilXDavis [111 posts]
10th December 2012 - 10:48

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NeilXDavis wrote:
All teams will naturally push the envelope of whats legal..same in all sports. I stand by Sky 100% and anyone who really wants to see the sport cleaned up should think the same - Sky are a genuine sponsor not a rich benefactor and as such their reputation is on the line. Good on them.

so using EPO before it was officially a banned substance would have been ok? That's what I'm saying - who knows what the next big performance enhancer will be, but you can bet there's something out there that's not yet banned that riders are using. I'm not saying that Sky riders are, but the team seems to be more about appearances rather than substance when it comes to their zero tollerence claims. They won the Tour with various members of staff with past links to doping, and until recently a doctor linked to Rabbobank when Rasmussen was doped to his scrawny eyeballs. Then when the Armstrong report was published they suddenly went on a big PR exercise. Too late in my book to claim that they achieved their aim of winning the Tour with a clean rider. I'm not saying Wiggo was not clean, but Sky cannot claim that they did everything to ensure that whole Tour de France team was clean when shortly afterwards they start sacking staff for past links to doping.

posted by daddyELVIS [384 posts]
10th December 2012 - 11:43

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daddyELVIS - you seem to be a bit cynical if you ask me, Sky can only do so much themselves and as of now the TdF team have not had anyone fail a drugs test.

The LA report has basically made a lot of teams sit up and think about what they do and how they come across so with Sky setting out a zero tolerance approach it should be applauded and not put down.

So they got rid of certain riders and coaches for PAST links, it does not mean they were dirty during this years tour.

Your entitled to your opinion and i respect that but it does seem a bit cynical.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2667 posts]
10th December 2012 - 12:43

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edhonrada wrote:
I'm not sure how much Sky's management team have to do with encouraging the recent culls - the anti-doping at all costs must be written into the contract with the sponsors - because Brailsford and co knew what they were getting into when they entered the sport. Reckon the recent Armstrong saga must have freaked out the money men enough into completely sweeping the boards. I'm sure Brailsford is seething behind the scenes. But i agree, doesn't set a good example, and there's still no news on them signing up to MPCC.

Not signing up to MPCC puts them in line with 4/5ths of the ProTour teams then. I have my doubts about MPCC. There is no policing that teams are complying with what they sign up to in the way of policies - Jonathan Vaughters has admitted this. Vaughters himself has totally flouted the MPCC policy about the minimum time in signing up a rider post-sanction, by bringing in Thomas Dekker just a few months after the end of his ban. And MPCC have granted provisional membership to Lampre for goodness sake - exactly what does that do for its credibility?

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
10th December 2012 - 14:20

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stumps wrote:
daddyELVIS - you seem to be a bit cynical if you ask me, Sky can only do so much themselves and as of now the TdF team have not had anyone fail a drugs test.

The LA report has basically made a lot of teams sit up and think about what they do and how they come across so with Sky setting out a zero tolerance approach it should be applauded and not put down.

So they got rid of certain riders and coaches for PAST links, it does not mean they were dirty during this years tour.

Your entitled to your opinion and i respect that but it does seem a bit cynical.


Not cycnical - just stating facts that when Team Sky was formed Brailsford stated this new team would be totally anti-doping and that they would not only produce a British winner of the Tour, but also a clean winner. He even stated that his team doctors would be recruited from outside cycling to ensure that fans could have faith that all his staff would have no past links to doping - also stating that although he admired David Millar, there's no way he could employ him at Sky due to his past. Then Team Sky win the Tour with a British rider - so that's one promise fulfilled. But there is absolutely no way we can have faith that it was done clean when it turns out they never had any real intention of sticking by their promise of employing staff with no prior link to doping(by clean I mean by riders who have not used, during the race or in preparation for the race, performance enhancing substances that are either banned now, or will be banned in the future when testing science catches up with doping science). The Armstrong report is published - what happens next? - Team Sky suddenly decide to enforce a promise they made over 2 years ago!

Kimmage , who has recently been hailed a hero over the Armstrong affair, states:
"Two years ago I phoned Brailsford and told him the team needs to tell Barry to speak honestly about the past, to say that there will be no repercussions if he tells the truth, but I don’t think anything was done. There was also hemming and hawing about hiring [Neil] Stephens as a directeur sportif. All of the core principles that the team was founded on, they found ways to wriggle out of it and do something else."

Kimmage was also critical of the appointment of the Yates appointment. Then when Yates suddenly 'retired', Team Sky said it was nothing to do with their sudden enforcement of their 2 year old promise - who are they trying to kid?

On Wiggins' rant, during the Tour, about remarks on Twitter suggesting that he might be doping, Kimmage states this:
"I’m troubled by Wiggins’ change in attitude. He rants about these Tweeters, the people on Twitter. In fact, I was the subject from abuse from him on Twitter. In the race he finished fourth in, he wrote ‘where is Paul Kimmage, missed his cheery little face on the Tour this year.’ That was the 2009 Tour, when Armstrong had come back. I had to leave the race as all of the pieces I had written on Armstrong had been rejected by the newspaper [the Sunday Times]. That is why I wasn’t on the race – I had left the race early. My reward for this was that snarky little remark from Wiggins. He has been a huge disappointment."

Call me cynical if you like - I'd suggest its more a case of realising that Brailsford and Team Sky have not lived up to their promises (not both of them anyway!)

posted by daddyELVIS [384 posts]
10th December 2012 - 23:34

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