Michael Rogers Makes His Comeback Felt At Giro d’Italia

SAVONA, Italy, May 21, 2014 (AFP) – Australia’s Michael Rogers won the 11th
stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday as his compatriot Cadel Evans retained
the leader’s pink jersey.

Rogers, riding for the Tinkoff team, came home 10 seconds ahead of the pack
at the end of the 249km ride from Collecchio to Savona after breaking clear on
the final descent, 20km from the finish.

Simon Geschke of Germany claimed second place in front of Italy’s Enrico
Battaglin and Wilco Kelderman of the Netherlands.

For the 34-year-old Rogers, it was a first stage win in a Grand Tour and
his first success since his return to the sport following a positive test for
clenbuterol last year.

Rogers had always claimed that his positive test was due to eating
contaminated food and he was later cleared to return to racing by the
International Cycling Union (UCI) in time to compete in the
Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic in April.

“It was one of the hardest rides of my life, for sure,” he said.

“At the top of the climb, I realised that most guys in the group were GC
contenders and this was the time to jump. So I went. From then on, it was all
about keeping my head down, pedalling away and I guess I was a little lucky
that the GC guys were probably looking at each other, hesitating a bit.”

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The victory for Rogers, who dedicated it to his Italian wife, continues
Australia’s fine record in this year’s Giro.

The Orica-GreenEdge team won the opening stage team time trial and Michael
Matthews triumphed on the sixth stage, while Matthews held the pink jersey
from the second stage until it was seized by Evans after stage eight.

Evans, of the BMC team, will now hope to extend his lead of 57 seconds down
to Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran of the Omega Pharma team in Thursday’s 12th
stage, a 41.9km individual time trial from Barbaresco to Barolo.

“The time trial is always the race of truth,” Evans said. “We have had a
difficult first week and this week – though we have had a recovery day and a
short stage.

“Now we have also had a very long and intense stage. I think that will
probably have a little bit of an effect on the performances.

“For me, it is one of the key stages and on paper, it looks like it suits
me. I go into it feeling pretty well, feeling ok.”

There were several falls on Wednesday’s stage, and Germany’s Fabian Wegmann
was forced to abandon the race along with Luke Durbridge of Australia.

Switzerland’s Steve Morabito, a team-mate of Evans, was also hurt but was
able to finish the stage and is fifth overall.

However, former leader Matthews pulled out of the race at the start of the
day due to injury.

Results from the 11th stage of the Giro
d’Italia, a 249km ride from Collecchio to Savona on Wednesday:

1. Michael Rogers (AUS/TIN) 5hr 48min 07sec, 2. Simon Geschke (GER/GIA) at
10sec, 3. Enrico Battaglin (ITA/BAR) s.t., 4. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BKN) s.t.,
5. Gianluca Brambilla (ITA/OPQ) s.t., 6. Moreno Moser (ITA/CAN) s.t., 7. Ryder
Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) s.t., 8. Matteo Rabottini (ITA/NRI) s.t., 9. Fabio Duarte
(COL/COL) s.t., 10. Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA/ALM) s.t., 11. Julian Arredondo
(COL/TRE) s.t., 12. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) s.t., 13. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC)
s..t, 14. Maxime Monfort (BEL/LTB) s.t., 15. José Herrada (ESP/MOV) s.t., 16.
Paolo Tiralongo (ITA/AST) s.t., 17. Rigoberto Uran (COL/OPQ) s.t., 18. Sander
Armee (BEL/LTB) s.t., 19. Franco Pellizotti (ITA/AND) s.t., 20. Alberto Losada
(ESP/KAT) s.t.

Selected others
38. Ivan Basso (ITA/CAN) at 10sec, 138. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/FDJ) 18min
14sec, 155. Svein Tuft (CAN/ORI) s.t.
Didn’t start
Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI)

Overall standings
1. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 48hr 39min 04sec, 2. Rigoberto Uran (COL/OPQ) at
57sec, 3. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 1min 10sec, 4. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM)
1:20, 5. Steve Morabito (SUI/BMC) 1:31, 6. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 1:39, 7. Wilco
Kelderman (NED/BKN) 1:44, 8. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 1:45, 9. Robert
Kiserlovski (CRO/TRE) 1:49, 10. Ivan Basso (ITA/CAN) 2:01, 11. Pierre Rolland
(FRA/EUC) 2:56, 12. Wout Poels (NED/OPQ) 3:03, 13. Maxime Monfort (BEL/LTB)
3:41, 14. Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA/ALM) 4:25, 15. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) 4:30,
16. Matteo Rabottini (ITA/NRI) 4:36, 17. Gianluca Brambilla (ITA/OPQ) 5:01,
18. Hubert Dupont (FRA/ALM) 5:36, 19. Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR/SKY) 5:42, 20.
Franco Pellizotti (ITA/AND) 5:46

Selected others
29. Michael Rogers (AUS/TIN) 12min 45sec

Photos: Corvos