Rogers: 'This is a turning point'

After spending almost three months working towards today's time trial gold medal, Michael Rogers fee

After spending almost three months working towards today's time trial gold medal, Michael Rogers fee
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Michael Rogers is probably the only road rider to have received two time trial gold medals in the same day. That bizarre accomplishment was achieved when Rogers crossed the finish line in Bardolino in by far the fastest time of the day to win the 2004 world tite, just hours after receiving gold for the 2003 championship, writes Susanne Horsdal. Just this morning the Australian was presented with the gold medal for 2003, which he had been awarded following David Millar's disqualification after an admission of doping. "This morning was a nice feeling, but it was much more satisfying to win fair and square. I've finished second too many times in world championships," said Rogers Rogers, who's been finishing on the podium in world championships since his junior days. "For me, today was a turning point in my life. Now I've finally done it. "It was a big outlet for me. I had prepared as best as I could and I just went as hard as I could," said the 24 year old. He admitted his pre-race game plan had been worked out carefully. "It was always my plan to start relatively slow and make a progression from there. For the past two to three months I've been trying different things on this type of course," explained Rogers, who lives only a couple of hours' drive from Bardolino. With two golds in just one day, Rogers now hopes their shine will rub off on his performance in Sunday's road race. "I know I have the legs and I'm very motivated. But it's easier to say who can't win on Sunday because there's such a large group of riders who can," Rogers concluded. Germany's Michael Rich looks more like a track sprinter than a road racer. The Gerolsteiner ride is huge, and this meant the steep climb at the beginning of the time trial course in Bardolino was bound to be a handicap for him. However, his excellent time trial skills clearly made up for that relative lack of climbing ability and once back on the relative flat down near Lake Garda he quickly gained time he had previously lost to eventually finish in the silver medal position. "It wasn't that I was behind on the first split (19th overall), and I knew it would be very difficult to become world champion. The time difference to Michael (Rogers) was simply too big. The second part of the course suited me much better. That's where I gained time and I'm happy with silver," said Rich, who would have preferred the race to have been 10-15 kilometres longer. Although Rich wasn't surprised at not becoming world champion, Alexandre Vinokourov clearly was with his third spot. "The Vuelta was good preparation for this, and I'm very surprised and very happy with my result," said the Kazakh, who went down with stomach problems in the beginning of the Vuelta but managed to hang in there and actually regain his form before dropping out to finetune for the Worlds. Vinokourov's bronze medal was a clear indication that he's a very serious contender for the rainbow jersey in Sunday's road race. "Well, I'm satisfied with my performance today. It was a good training for Sunday," said the T-Mobile rider.

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