Cameron Meyer put his well-honed time trial skills on display in the elite men’s criterium at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships. The Western Australian established an early solo lead after countering a move made by his brother Travis Meyer and managed to hold off the field for 26 laps en route to his third elite national title – his first in the criterium.
“It’s another special win,” said Cameron. “Obviously to win any Australian championship is special. I’m a little surprised as the criterium is not my forte. I’m definitely thought of more as a time trialist or road racer, but I went out there today and showed I have good form. We had some good tactics from the start, but we didn’t have to use them today.”
Those tactics included using the Meyer brothers to soften up the field ahead of a potential sprint finish.
“We wanted to make the race as hard as possible,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “The Meyers are going really well, and the plan was to have them animate the race to make things as difficult as possible. Their attacks would impact the lead-outs for other teams and leave Leigh [Howard] fresh for the sprint. As it turned out, they made it so hard that they destroyed the field and Cam was able to ride away.”
Travis launched the first move and gained a ten second advantage. He was brought back before the first intermediate sprint, and his catch prompted Cameron’s attack several laps later.
“Travis went in the first couple laps,” explained Cameron. “Four or five laps after he went, I took my turn. I never thought it was the race winning move. I went out to the front and hoped some other riders might come across. It’s hard to stay away for that long. No one came, so I just kept going. Still no one came, and I kept going some more. Eventually, I had to commit myself.”
Cameron admits that he didn’t allow himself to consider the win within reach until the final five laps.
“I’ve been in the situation before,” he noted. “Many times, it comes back and you get caught. It looks good but you get nowhere. I thought that’s what would happen today as the gap held around 20 seconds. Further into the race, Matt Wilson was standing on the side and yelling at me to keep going. With ten laps left, he told me the field was cracking. That’s when I started to think I had a chance. Not until four or five laps to go did I think I could win.”
With Cameron up the road, the rest of the ORICA-GreenEDGE team began to think about the lesser places.
“Travis attacked with one lap to go, and it looked like he had a pretty good gap to hold on for second,” said Wilson. “The bunch swallowed him up just before the line. Leigh went for it in the sprint, but [Steele] Von Hoff managed to pip him on the line. Leigh managed third in the end.”
With two hugely successful days behind them, the team looks forward to Sunday’s road race.
“We’ve won two titles now,” said Cameron. “We’re looking to add the big one on Sunday and make it three for three.”