Rogers stakes Olympic cycling claim
Road cycling star Michael Rogers is far from guaranteed Olympic selection, despite his outstanding form.
The 31-year-old member of the Sky team won the overall title at the Bayern-Rundfahrt to cap an excellent performance at the five-stage German race.
He took out the stage-four time trial, where teammate and fellow Australian Richie Porte was second.
Rogers also ended a two-year drought when he won stage two.
The three-time world time trial champion and regular Tour de France rider has recovered from illness and is enjoying a strong season.
He and Porte are likely to be key lieutenants for British star Brad Wiggins in this year’s Tour, although there is plenty of solid competition in the Sky squad for those berths.
But breaking into the Australian men’s road team at the London Games will be harder again for the pair.
Australia will have five riders in the men’s road race and two of them can compete in the individual time trial.
There are upwards of a dozen in contention, including Cadel Evans, Stuart O’Grady and Heinrich Haussler, as well as Rogers and Porte.
Matthew Goss’s silver medal at the worlds last September gave him an early selection nomination, but even that is subject to form and fitness.
There was a major controversy last year when Mark Renshaw missed out on the team for the worlds.
This time, the makeup of the team is far more complex because of a number of factors:
* The Olympic team is only five riders, compared to nine at the world titles.
* What is Australia’s best chance of an Olympic medal? Are Porte, Rogers or Evans realistic chances in the time trial against the likes of Swiss powerhouse Fabian Cancellara, or does Australia concentrate on the road race?
* There has been considerable debate over whether the Games road race course suits sprinters such as Goss and British favourite Mark Cavendish, or whether a breakaway will decide the gold medal. Do the selectors totally build the team around Goss, or hedge their bets?
* The team will be finalised on June 17, but several riders are likely to compete the following month in the Tour de France. Selectors will have to consider how prospective riders will back up when the Tour ends on July 22, given the Olympic road events are only a few days later.© AAP 2013
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