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"Sky was very mathematically based. It was very stay to the line - 'we know the numbers'. But it worked."




27.02.2013 @ 11:16 Posted by Adam Aisen og Jesper Ralbjerg

Former triple world time trial champion impressed with Riis’ keen eye for details and attention to every rider’s potential. Team Saxo-Tinkoff approach very different from Team Sky methodology.


Earlier this month Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s new Aussie arrival, Michael Rogers, made his debut for his new employers in the Tour Mediterranéen and the Tour du Haut Var races. Thus he is able to compare his employer of the present to those of the past.


Even before making his debut, however, Rogers was struck by the manifestly different approaches to professional cycling prevailing on Team Saxo-Tinkoff and Team Sky. An experienced rider who has accumulated years of know-how with several teams, Rogers was surprised to discover the many different ways in which things could be done even while being part of the highly ambitious Team Sky.

"Sky was very mathematically based. It was very stay to the line - 'we know the numbers' - and that was the program, we just stuck to that.”


There’s no denying, though, that Sky was very successful last season.


“But it worked. We had lots of success. The environment was of a winning team, a successful team. And a happy team. What I see here, with Bjarne [Riis], is a world of experience. He really sees those fine little details with every rider. For instance, at the start of December, we were at the velodrome in Italy testing the time trial stuff, and Bjarne has an eye for these tiny little details that the majority of the people within the world of cycling wouldn't pick up on."

On the lookout for details

Rogers is quick to emphasize that the atmosphere is just as good in his new team, something he realized very swiftly. He’s not surprised that the atmosphere is different since no two teams are identical, but nevertheless he is astonished by the way Riis manages to influence the entire team through his constant attention to even microscopic details. This observation, by the way, reverberates with every team member that speaks to during the team’s training camp at the Canary Islands.

You say mathematically, did you miss passion or was it just showing in other ways?

"I think Team Sky is still learning along the way. They come with a completely different concept, a completely different way of thinking. They come from a track orientated background, and they made it in stages and certainly got it right last year. I think they've moved the sport scientifically forward a long way. And with time, the other teams will catch up."


Rogers, however, felt a need for a more personalized approach, something he has found with his new employer. This is perfectly compatible with Rogers’ continued desire to evolve as a rider since testing new approaches and methodologies is an on-going process as he points out.


Still passionate

The former world time trial champion believes that he has found common ground with Riis when it comes to expanding the potential of each individual rider.


"Bjarne is really about improving the athlete. I believe that every athlete has a diamond inside, but it's not always showing. And Bjarne is really good at that - finding that diamond and getting it out and letting it work its magic."

Even though the Aussie is reluctant to make direct comparisons between Team Saxo-Tinkoff and Team Sky and giving preference to one of the different methods applied on the two teams, he has no qualms speaking about the passion for cycling that still burns within him.


"There is no right way to go about good result. There are many different ways, and I have been around for years now and at many different teams, but I'm not saying that I have found the right way. You have to always be open to new possibilities, because there are so many variables in this sport, and until you try all of them you just don't know."


"It's still a passion - of course it is. Every day. There are times when you go through a bad period, when you don't enjoy training. But when you take just 3-4 days off, you'll miss it. I've done this since I was seven.”

For Rogers there’s little chance of the flame of passion burning out.

"Cycling is like that. It's the world's biggest virus - when you start, you don't know what you're getting into."

Rogers’ next outing for Team Saxo-Tinkoff will be the Tirreno-Adriatico from March 6-12. This race will see Rogers riding with new teammate Alberto Contador for the first time.



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