Rogers in record rainbow land at World Cycling Championships
MADRID: Australia’s Michael Rogers pulled on the world champion’s rainbow jersey for the third time after successfully defending his time trial crown at the world championships with a stunning performance on the outskirts of the Spanish capital.
Rogers becomes the first ever three-time world champion in the discipline which has existed at world championship level only since 1994. It also means the 25-year-old from Canberra, who rides for the Quick Step team but is soon to move to T-Mobile, overtakes his soon-to-be teammate Jan Ullrich – the only other rider who has won the time trial crown twice.
On a blistering day, Rogers timed 53min 34sec over the 44.1km course, which was mildly undulating but technical with long narrow stretches. In second place was home favourite Jose Ivan Gutierrez, who timed 53:58 and gave Spain the jitters as he sat in the race leader’s hot seat – until Rogers came along and deposed him.
The bronze medal went to Swiss specialist Fabian Cancellara, who also timed 53:58 but was pipped to the silver by 0.12secs. Rogers claimed his second world title last year. In somewhat bizarre circumstances, at the same time, he received the gold medal from the year before after 2003 winner David Millar was stripped of the title after admitting he had taken the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin).
And it was with muted joy that the Italy-based professional celebrated his third win in a row at world level – and surprisingly, his first of the current season. “It’s been a bit of an up and down season for me, but to finish it off like this is obviously special,” said Rogers, who had a disappointing Tour de France, partly because his team failed to provide the much needed support that team leaders require in the three-week race.
Last year Rogers beat Germany’s Michael Rich by over a minute to claim his second world title. This time the margins were smaller. Rich, as well as last year’s bronze medallist Alexandre Vinokourov, finished off the podium. But for the Aussie the result was the same, and Rogers admitted he’d learned a thing or two from watching the Under-23 men’s race won by Russian Mikhail Ignatiev on Wednesday. afp