Having had what was arguably the best season of his career, Michael Rogers has been given a new two year deal by his Tinkoff-Saxo team and will continue in the colours of the squad until at least the end of 2016.
Rogers took two stages in the Giro d’Italia and also landed his first-ever win in the Tour de France. Performances such as those plus his work for Alberto Contador and others have earned him another contract.
“I’m very excited about extending,” the 34 year old Australian said in a team announcement. “For the last two seasons and especially in 2014, I’ve felt that we’ve been on the verge of something very special as a team – I most definitely saw that during the Tour.
“I’ve always been a strong advocate of teamwork, and I think that’s why I fit well into this team. We’re able to perform with a big mix of riders and I enjoy being able to assist some of the younger guys with their development.”
Rogers will continue to back Contador and will take his own opportunities when they arise. As he has shown this year, he is able to take stages in the biggest races and, according to team manager Bjarne Riis, he has moved to a new level.
“We’re all very pleased that Michael will stay with the team and it’s quite obvious why. It has been an amazing comeback and he has played an important role in raising the overall level of the team,” said the Dane. “In fact, I don’t think we’ve ever seen him stronger than he is now. He’ll definitely be important for us in the seasons to come.”
Rogers moved to Tinkoff-Saxo from Team Sky, changing colours prior to the 2013 season. Since debuting there he took those Grand Tour stages and also placed second overall in the 2013 Tour of California, sixth in the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné and third in this year’s Route du Sud.
He won the Japan Cup in 2013 but was stripped of that result after he tested positive for Clenbuterol. However he was cleared to return to racing when it emerged that the substance had likely entered his system during the Tour of Beijing. China is a country with a known contamination problem in food.
Rogers returned to competition prior to the Giro d’Italia and quickly showed form. “It has been a memorable year so far,” he said. “Together with my teammates and the sporting staff I’ve been able to maintain a high level throughout the season, which has resulted in three stage wins in the Giro and the Tour.
“I would love to take some more in the next seasons. I especially look forward to returning to the Tour with Alberto to finish what we’ve started.”
Riis describes the rider as someone who has been an essential part of the team this season. “He first and foremost fits very well into the entire setup. He has the experience and strength to guide the team on the road as the extended arm of the sport director and he wins races like we’ve seen during the Grand Tours of this season. So it’s very logical that we wish to continue.”
Rogers will ride the USA Pro Challenge for the team. As he competed in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, he won’t be called upon to back Contador in the upcoming Vuelta.