By Nigel Wynn
Michael Rogers will leave Team Sky at the end of the year to join Danish outfit Saxo-Tinkoff for the 2013 season.
Saxo-Tinkoff confirmed on Friday that Rogers had signed up two-year contract with them. The Australian's move to Bjarne Riis's team leaves another gap in Sky's roster. Rogers was one of Bradley Wiggins' key helpers during his successful 2012 Tour de France campaign.
Rogers' two-year contract with Sky expires at the end of December, and his move to Saxo-Tinkoff is not directly related to Sky's stringent anti-doping review process in the wake of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report into organised doping at Lance Arsmtrong's US Postal team.
However, Rogers' name has been linked with banned Italian doctor Michele Ferrari. Although Rogers has admitted to being associated with Ferrari, he has always maintained that he has never used banned performance enhancing substances.
Team sports directors Steven De Jongh and Sean Yates have both left the squad, as has race coach Bobby Julich. Both De Jongh and Julich admitted to doping during their riding careers. Yates has retired from the sport.
Rogers enjoyed a fruitful season in 2012, winning Bayern-Rundfahrt overall and placing second in the Criterium du Dauphine behind team-mate Wiggins. He was time trial world champion in 2003, 2004, and 2005 and has also won the Tour Down Under (2002), Route du Sud (2003), Deutschland Tour (2003), Tour of California (2010) and Vuelta a Andalucia (2010).
The 32-year-old from New South Wales was Commonwealth Games scratch race champion in 1998 and bronze medallist in the 2004 Olympic Games time trial.
Rogers was once touted as a Grand Tour contender in his own right. He finished ninth in the 2006 Tour de France whilst riding for T-Mobile. The following year, he was forced to withdraw from the race after crashing and breaking his collarbone. A further two seasons dogged by illness led Rogers to concede that he would never win a Grand Tour, and instead turned his attention to week-long stage races and taking a supporting role.
Wiggins will aim for victory in the 2013 Giro d'Italia, with 2012 Tour runner-up Chris Froome aiming to win the Tour in July. Both will now have to do so without the help of Rogers.
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