Cycling tour star Rogers’ new self-belief
Michael Rogers’ superb work for Tour de France champion-in-waiting Bradley Wiggins reflects renewed self-belief and a bright new phase in his long career.
Rogers, fellow Australian Richie Porte and Chris Froome have been crucial for Wiggins, with the Sky riders setting a solid tempo on the mountain climbs that has made it tough for rivals to attack.
But for all the deserved attention on his team leader, 32-year-old father of two Rogers still has goals well above being a super domestique for Wiggins.
After several years of persistent health problems and inconsistent form, Rogers says he’s learnt some crucial lessons he wishes he’d heeded much earlier.
“I really feel like mentally I’m coming into my best – a lot of it’s mental,” Rogers said.
“It’s only been this year that, through trial and error, I’ve really started to understand who I am.”
Rogers comes from a tight family and his brother Peter, also a former national-level cyclist, put him onto a psychologist in Australia.
Rogers said that for too long, too many people were in his ear.
“I’m the first one to say that was the cause of my illness, I was running at someone else’s pace,” he said.
“But that’s the way it is – I’ve learnt from it.
“I just feel at ease with myself.”
Rogers was on the rise in the early 2000s, winning world time trial championships and establishing himself as a solid Tour de France rider.
He was potentially on the way to taking the yellow jersey in 2007 when he crashed and broke his collarbone.
Rogers said the injury left him crushed, like he had been cheated.
But the bigger problem was he was still not listening enough to the person who counted most – himself.
“I listened to everyone except for me,” he said.
“To this day, it’s still the biggest regret in my career, I didn’t listen to myself.
“It’s only been this year that I’ve started to believe in myself again.
“I truly didn’t believe in myself for six years.”
Rogers is excited to think what might come next for him in the sport.
But for now, his job is to ride a solid time trial in the penultimate stage of the Tour de France on Saturday to test his form in the event ahead of the Olympics, then make sure Wiggins makes it safely to the Paris finish line on Sunday.
“I will be really interested to see how the last time trial goes for me,” Rogers said.© AAP 2013