Having won stage 1 of the 2013 Tour de Suisse, Cam Meyer's (Orica-GreenEdge) fast finish from a three-man breakaway netted him stage 2 of the 2014 edition of the race. The Australian timed his sprint to perfection from third wheel to beat Philip Deignan (Team Sky) and Lawrence Warbasse (BMC) for line honours in Sernen and record Orica-GreenEdge's 23rd win of 2014.
"This is a significant win for me," said Meyer who was forced to withdraw from the Giro d'italia. "The Giro was a big personal goal for the first half of the season. It was great to win the team time trial with the guys, but things went downhill for me personally from there. I got sick. I crashed. Eventually, I pulled out. I really wanted to bounce back and come back strong in the second part of the season. This is a great way to start that."
GreenEdge's sport director Neil Stephens explained that the plan for the stage was to get Meyer into the break and it was a plan well executed.
"It might be hard to believe but the plan today was always to put Cam in the break," said Stephens. "We knew we wanted someone in the move, and given our options, he was the best one for the job. We were all committed to helping Cam, and obviously the results of the plan were in our favour."
Despite losing contact with break twice in the final hour of racing, Meyer fought back to regain contact with the leaders on the road but Stephens had radioed the team to let them know they were free to attack back in the peloton.
"At the front, the group got into a bit of rhythm and reduced the break to three or four riders," Stephens said. "Cam lost contact with the front group on the last climb. At that point, there were two guys in the front and Cam was out the back."
"I told the guys they had free reign at that point. Nino [Schurter] was thinking about having a crack. He started to move up, but the pace was really hard in the bunch, and he never quite got into the right position to attack. At the same time Nino was moving up, Cam managed to regain contact with the front two.
"Unfortunately, in the last kilometre before the summit, he lost contact again."
Meyer explained after the race that despite not feeling great, he was determined to regain contact with Deignan and Warbasse.
"I was struggling a bit over that final climb," Meyer said. "My legs did not feel good, but I knew if I went over the top with less than a half-minute lost, I could time trial back to the two up front – and if I made it back, I knew I would be in for a chance at the stage win. With that going through my head, I went as hard as I could for ten kilometres to catch them."
Meyer's efforts saw him rejoin the leading duo and when he made the catch, Stephens guided him through the final 10km to secure the stage win.
"When he got back on, I told him to do everything he could to recover," said Stephens. "The other two guys were the ones under pressure because they were going better than he was on the climb. I told him to recover for a bit, which he did – and then he had to start collaborating because the bunch was coming up from behind."
Trusting the voice in his ear, Meyer explained that Stephen's instructions ensured he was a fresh as possible for the final sprint.
"I did exactly as Stevo said," said Meyer. "I took those few minutes to recover before I started taking turns. I had to work with them because the bunch was coming, and I knew I didn't want to let them catch us. I had a real shot for the stage win, so it was important that I contribute to keep the peloton at bay.
"With a small group, you can come from the back to win," said Meyer. "I knew I wanted to start third wheel. The other two thought I was tired because I had been dropped on the climb, and I was happy to let them think that. They looked at each more than at me, which was perfect."
"They sprinted early," Meyer added. "I waited. I opened my sprint at 150 metres to go and passed them both before the line."
Stephens never doubted Meyer for the stage win and praised the 26-year-old for tenacity and tactical racing having been twice been distanced.
"That was all Cam in the sprint," added Stephens. "I knew I didn't need to offer him any tactical advice. He's a very analytic sort of guy, so I knew he would have known the strengths and weaknesses of the two riders with him. There was never any doubt in my mind that he could win. He came from the back and won really easily. It was a fantastic race."