Michael Rogers in action at Il Lombardia Michael Rogers is looking to start next season firing on all cylinders after his 2011 campaign was blighted by illness. The hugely-respected Australian contracted a form of glandular fever which hampered much of his first season with Team Sky.He was hitting top form just as the campaign came to a close, producing an excellent performance at Il Lombardia, where a massive turn from him helped bring it all back together in the closing stages as Team Sky attempted to set Rigoberto Urán up for the finale.And the three-time World Time Trial champion, who also has nine Grand Tours appearances to his name, is determined to kick on now ahead of the first race of the season, the Tour down Under in Adelaide in mid-January.“Having had a long time off during the year with glandular fever I was just getting really good legs as we headed to the off-season but such is life,” he said.“I’ll keep training now all the way to the Tour down Under and hopefully get the year off to a good start.”Rogers won his home Tour in 2002 and in 2011 helped Ben Swift to two stage wins and third place overall. This year he heads back there with fellow Aussies Mathew Hayman and Chris Sutton along with Edvald Boasson Hagen, Alex Dowsett, Danny Pate and Geraint Thomas.Bouncing backSean Yates will again be the Sports Director in charge of Team Sky’s squad and he’s expecting big things from Rogers in particular.Yates explained: “our GC guy will be Mick Rogers. He had a terrible time of it for most of this season with his illness and that was hard for him to take. He wants to set the record straight in 2012 and show that he can get back to the level he was at a few years ago.“His condition really picked up towards the end of autumn and he put in a fantastic ride at Il Lombardia. He’s highly motivated to have a great year next year and prove his worth. He’s not had that chance so far in a Team Sky jersey and wants to show everyone he’s still a force to be reckoned with.”Yates also feels that the change in route for the 2012 version of the WorldTour’s opening event plays right into Rogers’ hands, adding: “He’s in with a good chance, especially given the strength of the squad we have there to support him and having that summit finish on stage five up Willunga Hill.“That should mean the overall winner is going to have to be someone who can climb a bit and not just be an out-and-out sprinter like we have seen in the past few editions. although the climb should only take 10 minutes or so to get up, it’ll still make a difference and hopefully make things interesting.”Sense of perspectiveAnd while his illness kept him out of large parts of the season, it afforded Rogers time to see things from a different perspective.“it certainly was tough,” he explained. “It’s pretty hard just to sit on the couch and watch it on TV. But on the flip side it gives you time to think and sometimes you see errors that you’ve made and see things where you can improve… and sometimes it’s nice to notice things which you don’t always see when you are heavily involved.“It’s also been interesting watching the team develop and progress. I wasn’t around the first year but I saw it from the outside and in my opinion the team has really pushed into second gear and now it’s time to move up to third. from a start-up team they’ve covered a lot of ground in two years; the base is there and now it’s time to really move on and accelerate.”Rogers jetted back to Australia just a couple of weeks after Lombardia, saying: “I want to take advantage of all the time I’ve had off and now while everyone is taking their breaks hopefully I can get a bit of a head start.“I’ve spent the last couple of winters in Europe but having grown up in Australia it’s a very different experience trying to prepare for the new season. back home conditions are really favourable for training and we’ve got a lot of bunch rides – it’s just easier for us Aussies to train there which is what I’ll be doing this time.“and before the Tour down Under we’ve also got our national championships – both time trial and road race – in early January.”Exciting timesAnd while the Tour down Under is the early focus, Rogers is already thinking about the Tour de France and the dual challenge of riding for Bradley Wiggins on the overall as well as new signing Mark Cavendish who he knows well from his HTC-Columbia days.“It’s certainly a challenge and we’ll need to be honest with each other and the goals have to be set out exactly,” he said.“I think the key is having riders who can do both. I would imagine they’ll take some specific guys for Bradley and some for Mark, and then have guys who can interchange and be flexible between the two. It’s not easy but we’ll try it.“There’s been quite a lot of comment in the press about it but these challenges are what it’s all about.”

Rogers raring to go