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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Rogers primed for time trial glory
By Matt Majendie

Michael Rogers is backing himself to upset the Tour hierarchy and win Friday's time trial.

Michael Rogers
Rogers is among the leading time trial contenders

The 23-year-old Australian had been a relative unknown in the peloton at the start of the season.

But a series of blistering performances, climaxing in the Tour of Germany where he was more than a minute quicker than both Jan Ullrich and Alexandre Vinokourov, mean he is one of the favourites for victory against the clock.

Rogers told the BBC Sport website: "My form really has come good at the right moment and I'd feel confident going into any time trial whoever I'm up against.

"It's beyond any stretch of the imagination, even though there are still a number of guys in contention - Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, David Millar and Alexandre Vinokourov among others.

"Despite that list, I still fancy my chances."

Rogers finished 19th in the first time trial of the tournament - the 6.5km prologue.

The Tour is far from over in the young riders' competition
Michael Rogers talks up his chances

But since then, the Quickstep-Davitamon rider has been forced to work for team leader and polka dot jersey wearer Richard Virenque.

Rogers unselfishly coaxed the then Tour leader up Alpe d'Huez, carrying the Frenchman's helmet in the process.

But in what is his first Tour, Rogers believes his opportunities for glory are still there.

He is currently sixth in the white jersey competition for the highest-placed young rider in the Tour - 20 minutes behind leader Denis Menchov.

And Rogers added: "The time trial should help my cause - they've always been good for me. But it really depends on my condition on the day.

"The Tour is far from over in the young riders' competition."

Rogers has already been talked about as a future contender for the overall prize come Paris and the Champs Elysees.

And such talk has failed to overawe him.

"The good thing is that even if I mess up this time, I'm only 23 and there's still plenty of time on my side," said Rogers.

"Give it five years and I see myself as a really serious contender overall."

Links to more Tour de France 2003 stories


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