ANNECY (AFP) - Columbia rider Michael Rogers finished well behind the favourites for the Tour de France's 18th stage time trial on Thursday, but said it was all part of the plan. The Australian said he had deliberately held back in order to save some energy for Sunday's final stage into Paris where his team will focus on making sure Mark Cavendish wins his fifth stage of this year's race. "My job now is to just look after Cavendish. We're going to save all the energy we've got for the stage to Paris and we're going to hit that one hard," said Rogers at the finish of the 40.5km time trial around Lake Annecy. "We've got to work with what we've got and try and win the last stage for the team." He added: "It wasn't too bad. I went out at 85 per cent and saw I wasn't too bad at the first time check. I didn't go full gas but it wasn't a bad ride. I caught my two-minute man (Nicolai Trussov) on the climb." Rogers, a former triple world champion in the time trial, started out with ambitions to finish high up in the race's general classification but due to crashes and bad luck he has tumbled down the standings. "Obviously, I didn't get off to the best start to this Tour because I had three crashes early," he added. "Through the mountains I never really pushed it too hard. I just stayed with the sprinters and made sure they got through okay. It hasn't been the best Tour for me, but that's life - I'll be back next year." If Cavendish wins on the Champs Elysees on Sunday he will have won five stages this year. Added to his four from last year it would make him Britain's most successful stage winner on the world's biggest bike race. Cavendish equalled the British record of eight stage wins, previously held by Englishman Barry Hoban, when he won the 11th stage in Saint Fargeau.