Three time road time trial World Champion, Michael Rogers, has confirmed he will join the Australian team for this week's reconnaissance trip to Beijing to contest the Good Luck Beijing Road events being staged on the 2008 Olympic road race and time trial courses on August 18 and 19.
Rogers had not originally planned to join the Beijing trip but after crashing out of the Tour de France his plans changed.
"If I had completed the Tour de France I probably wouldn't have gone but crashing out early meant I could reconsider," said Rogers who injured his right shoulder when he rocketed into a metal barrier on a descent in the Alps during the eighth stage of the Tour de France. "I've recovered well and probably have about 95 percent movement back.
"I'm in full training and suffering no pain on the bike although I'm still missing a little bit of movement when I raise my hand over my shoulder," Rogers explained. "I'm not planning to do that on the bike though so it's not an issue."
Rogers well knows the benefit that can be gained by surveying the Olympic course in advance having travelled to Athens the year prior to the 2004 Olympic Games where he finished fourth in the time trial, the event in which he won the World Championship in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
"It was a big advantage for me to go to Athens because I got to study it in my mind for a year and it gave me a clear mental image," said Rogers. "Definitely better than turning up three or four days before and trying to master the course.
"We'll study every metre of the course,' said Rogers who'll be joined by Tour de France runner up Cadel Evans as the Australian starters for the time trial. "We're taking Dave Martin (AIS Sports Scientist) and some of the world's best physiologists so we can gain all the information we need to work out a strategic pacing plan plus I'll have a year to think about how to tackle it."
Rogers says he's not that concerned about reports of pollution issues in Beijing.
"It might be an issue for the early kilometres of the road race but the time trial is out of the city so I don't expect it will be any worse than Athens and probably not as hot either," said Rogers.
The road race will be staged this Saturday and begins at Yongdingmen Gate at the southern end of Beijing's north-south central axis and travels 78.8km by way of several Beijing landmarks including the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Yonghegong Palace, Temple of Earth Park and the Yuan Dynasty City Wall Relics Palace to the Juyongguan Great Wall where the field will cover four laps of a 23.8km circuit for a total distance of 174km. The 47.6km road time trial will be raced on Sunday along the Juyongguan and Badaling Great Wall.
Meantime Rogers, who had earlier indicated he'd be unavailable for the time trial at the World Championships in September, isn't ruling out contesting the time trial in Stuttgart.
"I'm looking into it at the moment," said Rogers. "I'll do the first ten days of the Vuelta (Tour of Spain) and then it depends on the birth of our twins because they're due around the same day as the time trial.
"I suppose that's one positive for me out of my Tour de France crash," he said. "At least I got to spend some time with my wife (Alessia) who's been having a rough time of it but it's only a month to go now so we're on the downhill stretch and trying to get as much sleep stored up as possible."
Rogers is also happy with the news T-Mobile will continue as the major sponsor of his professional team.
"It hasn't been the best month for us or cycling, which has been going through hell, but it's something that has to happen if we want to tackle the doping issue," said Rogers. "I'm really happy T-Mobile has decided to stay in the sport and I'm looking forward to us moving on as a team and to fulfilling some of the goals we've set for ourselves."
Joining Rogers and Evans in Beijing will be Matt White, Australian pursuit champion, Phil Thuaux and three time junior 2006 World Champion, Cameron Meyer. 2004 Olympic teams pursuit gold medallist, Peter Dawson has stepped aside to allow Rogers to make the trip. Athens Olympic road race champion, Sara Carrigan and two time World Cup Series winner, Oenone Wood, will also make the trip for reconnaissance purposes as only men's races are scheduled for the test event.