Rogers perfectly prepared for TT defenceClose
ichael Rogers is the defending world time trial champion following David Millar's disqualification,PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Winning the world time trial title by default may be a positive result in the end, but reigning champion Michael Rogers of Australia is going out to prove in Wednesday's 46.75km race against the clock in Bardolino that he is well worthy of the crown. The Quick Step rider finally pulled on the rainbow jersey ahead of the GP des Nations earlier this month after David Millar's admission that he had won it last year using EPO led to the Briton being stripped of the title. As Millar ponders his future during a lengthy ban from the sport, Rogers has brushed aside feelings of bitterness as he bids to claim an undisputed victory on the rolling world championship course around scenic Lake Garda. Following a "disappointing" fourth place in the time trial at last month's Athens Olympics, where American Tyler Hamilton took gold, Rogers is doubly determined not to be cheated out of the Worlds' prize again. "I rode the Grand Prix des Nations in it. I didn't bring it here - I'm hoping to go away with another one instead," Rogers told procycling two days before he was due to be officially presented with his overdue prize in a ceremony hurriedly organised by the UCI. "For me it's the perfect course. It's much like last year in Hamilton. I think I've prepared quite well for it over the last month, at least once a week," explained the Australian, whose knowledge of the rolling course could lean in his favour. "I live only an hour and a half away so I think it's the best I've prepared for all the championships I've done." He added: "It's nice to have the jersey, but it's always better to win it - do the ceremony, and be the real winner. Obviously it's disappointing," he said of Millar's recourse to the banned blood booster, "but unfortunately it's history and we can't do anything about it now. It's just made me more determined this year." Despite the absence of Hamilton, currently suspended by his Phonak team following a positive test for blood doping at the Vuelta, and Germany's Jan Ullrich, who has a stomach complaint, Rogers knows he still has a challenge on his hands. "I think (Michael) Rich and (Uwe) Peschel will be up there - they showed at the GP des Nations that they're on form. But, like always, there's four or five others who could perform well on the day." Brad McGee will be Australia's only other time trial rider, after Cadel Evans withdrew from the event feeling that his form was not at its best coming out of the Vuelta. Evans will, however, take part in Sunday's road race.