Rogers solid in San Remo despite problems in dark tunnel

Mark Cavendish’s lack of form gave Australian Michael Rogers a chance to fly the HTC-Columbia colours at Milan-San Remo. He did an impressive job of it, continuing strongly from his overall win in Ruta del Sol last month.

“I am pretty happy at the end of the day because I was caught behind with the crash in the dark tunnel on the top of Turchino,” Rogers told Cycling Weekly. “I chased 100 kilometres with the team.”

>> Struggling to get out to the shops. Buy the latest issue of Cycling Weekly here, or try 6 issues for just £6 <<

The 180-metre long tunnel at the top of Passo Del Turchino was literally the dark moment of the day for Rogers and many others. A crash in the tunnel caused a split in the group and allowed an 81 riders gain an advantage as the race entered its second half.

“I was held up. To use that kind of energy, to chase 100 kilometres and then still be in the front and be able to attack… It just makes me think what I could have done if I had fresh legs but that’s cycling and that’s the way it is.”

Sky’s Mathew Hayman was upset as well, questioning the old Italian ways in one of cycling’s biggest races.

“You have to ask yourself why there are no lights in a tunnel like that in this race,” Hayman said. “We got about halfway in and it went pitch black, then it only takes one person to touch another’s wheel…

“The tunnel changed the changed the whole race.”

The groups eventually merged ahead of the day’s final climbs: I Tre Capi, the Cipressa and the Poggio. With Cavendish not a factor, Rogers and team-mate Maxime Monfort were able to try attacking. Rogers’ attack on the Poggio, with seven kilometres to race, cracked Lampre’s lead and opened the way for Philippe Gilbert and Filippo Pozzato to counter.

“Rogers is going so strong right now,” Team Manger Bob Stapleton said. “He will be one of our leaders for the Tour of California.”

Related links
Stealthy Freire wins third San Remo, Cavendish suffers
What makes Milan-San remo a great race?

Milan-San Remo 2010: The Big Preview
What makes Milan-San Remo a great race – and who will win?

Spring Classics 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Milan-San Remo: Boasson Hagen’s race?
Hammond and Hunt in Cervelo’s San Remo squad
Cavendish improving but San Remo win unlikely says Piva
Sky positions Boasson Hagen for San Remo win
Boonen talks Milan-San Remo and Cavendish
Cavendish and HTC team recon San Remo finish