Heading into his eighth Tour de France Michael Rogers is ready to once again do battle over three weeks.
Rogers goes into the race coming off the back of a strong season to date, beginning all the way back in January with fourth overall at the Tour Down Under.
Last seen climbing and time trialling to a superb second overall behind team-mate Bradley Wiggins at the Criterium du Dauphine, the 32-year-old arrives at the Tour confident that he can unleash his best form in service of Wiggins.
Present alongside the Brit during his wins at both the Tour de Romandie and at the Dauphine, the Bayern-Rundfahrt winner feels he and the Tour team have benefitted from riding together prior to the month of July.
The Australian said: “It’s pretty important during the year to get to know all the guys, especially the core guys, really well. Last year we didn’t really get the chance all that much to be together in the races leading up to the Tour.
“You get to know each other better and know the places where you need to pay more attention. I think it’s been really successful for us to ride together a lot this year.”
After a string of impressive showings the team made a significant impact on the Dauphine, culminating in an eventual 1-2-4 for the team with Chris Froome also breaking into the top five.
Rogers admits: “That was special to be a part of, especially the day into Morzine and the team riding that tempo on the Joux-Plane. To have four of us still there on top was certainly one of the better experiences I’ve had – at this level and as a team. You can achieve all your personal results, but when you can achieve those and also have a really great team result like that it’s the icing on the cake.
“Certainly it’s given us confidence going into the Tour. Saying that, we’ve all got our feet firmly on the ground. We’ve really worked hard but we know that the Tour is a difference race completely.”
Despite lining up at the start of the Tour on seven previous occasions, Rogers is adamant he has lost none of his love and excitement for the event, adding: “Every time, even my last time, riding on the Champs-Elysses is still a special moment and it’s the same for all riders really.”
Now all that remains is the wait for the action to commence, with Rogers in Belgium for the prologue in Liege which will kick-start the race on Saturday.
“After the Dauphine pretty much most of the work had been done. It was just all about resting in these last few weeks and about making sure I’m coming to the race as fresh physically and mentally as possible.
“It’s going to be the three hardest weeks of the year in front of us. But I feel prepared, I’ve done everything right and the work’s definitely been done.”