Diminutive sprinter Rico Rogers has come halfway round the World to win races for Node4 Giordana Subaru … and do it on a Pinarello which he maintains makes a self confessed non climber able to go up hills better.
Jim Golden writes … At 34, the New Zealand born rider, now a Melbourne resident, is a re-born cyclist who enjoys bursting from a bustling, jostling bunch to hurl his machine across the line very very fast for victory. In 2010 he won 29 races and some more last year including stages of the Tour of China while riding for Giant Asia. This year with the help of his new Node4 team mates including fellow Kiwi Mike Northey, he plans to win even more.
Not a great expereince in the Dengie event for Rico (centre of pic), a crash but he was okay afterwards. DoonHame should see him using his sprinting ability, perhaps in the crit, to bring success to his team.
Like so many cyclists from Down Under, he is prepared to go anywhere to ride a bike and win races. Having no firm contract for 2012 he spoke to his friend Dave Clarke, another Node4 rider, and contacted team principal Phil Griffiths. Two conversations and one Google search, and Rico had been made an offer which brought him to England two weeks ago. Cycling as a hobby, then a profession and now a lifestyle, began with downhill mountain biking which Rico reckons helped him develop those twitch muscles so important to a sprinter.
But then there was a career, six years away from the sport and personal problems which finally put him back on a bike. “Almost immediately I was riding 800 to 1,000 km a week – I enjoyed riding, I found it easy and enjoyable. I was 28 and never seemed to struggle whoever I rode with.”
“Almost immediately I took third place in the Auckland Championships. I decided to go to Belgium, the home of cycle racing, to make up for lost time and got a second place almost immediately. I spent eight months there, the best place to learn to be a cyclist. I was offered a place on a team which did not materialise.”
“So I went to Morzine in the Alps, I thought I might learn to be able to climb. I love living in France, learned the language, hung out with the locals, but still did not learn to climb hills! I went across to see the UCI in Aigle and asked them for some advice.”
Rico leads friend and teammate Dave Clarke during training on Saturday for Dengie.
“I rode for a team in Chambery, plenty of hills, but I still could not do it! Eventually I went back to Australia with the intent of going to university and settling down. But while I was sorting out my entrance for Uni I saw a race advertise with a $1,000 dollar first prize. I won it and then won almost everything I rode.”
“After, I got a guest spot with Giant Asia and won two stages at the Tour of China and then got a contract with them. For this year, I got in touch with Dave Clarke who I lived and trained with in Belgium. I am really excited with riding for Node4 and particularly with doing it on a Pinarello. I just want to start winning races… the sooner the better.”
Meanwhile he is getting to know the roads around Yellow’s Stone, Staffordshire HQ with local riders including the legendary Les West who is keen to show him his favourite roads in the Peak District.