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Giro 'veteran' Meyer hopes homework pays off

By:
Jane Aubrey
Published:
May 05, 2011, 2:01 BST,
Updated:
May 06, 2011, 11:14 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 5, 2011
Race:
Giro d'Italia
Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo) heads out on is ride.

Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo) heads out on is ride.

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Australian ready to try his luck in final week

Taking on the Giro d'Italia is a long way from the comparitively comforting repetition of a velodrome, but for the notoriously studious Cameron Meyer, some habits die hard.

"I've already studied every stage all the way through the three weeks thinking, Tyler [Farrar] can win this stage; and [Christophe] Le Mevel can have a go here and I can get in the breakaway on this stage," the 2010 Australian Cyclist of the Year told Cyclingnews. "I was talking to Matt Wilson, an old-timer, the other day and he goes: 'Cam, I don't look at the stages. I just go day-by-day because I don't want to know what's coming up in the last couple of weeks.'"

Some may call in the exuberance of youth but Meyer has done his homework.

Meyer will be starting in his third Giro this weekend and he's hopeful that this time around, as a 23-year-old with a bit more experience on the road and with added hardness in his legs, the three-week monster won't seem so bad.

"I got called a veteran of the event the other day," he recalled. "You can only ride a race three times so I'm changing to the Tour or the Vuelta next year!"

Having just completed the Tour of Romandie, where he and Garmin-Cervelo took out the teams classification, along with Liege-Bastonge-Liege, Meyer is optimistic about the 3496 kilometres ahead. In previous years, he's come off the track world championships with little or no racing under his belt and the adjustment required has been a shock to the system.

"When I start on Saturday I'm confident I can adapt to the race speed quicker than what I have in the previous two years," he explained. "When you go out onto the road you have to average big power for 200 kilometres of bike racing – our bodies just aren't adapted like the other guys who have 30 more race days in the season than us and they've been doing it year-in, year-out."

While Meyer seems relaxed about the next three weeks of racing, he explains that the steady flow of GC contenders using the word 'fear' to describe some of the nastier stages is "a little daunting." He laughs nervously before adding: "Every time I look at Cyclingnews I see a new favourite like Contador, Sastre, or Menchov saying how hard some of these climbs are going to be. So I'm going, well, that doesn't bode well for someone like me who's got to try and be a domestique in the first few weeks and still get up those hills."

Meyer didn't make it to the finish in Rome in 2009 but it was a different story in 2010 where in Verona, he came 8th in the final time-trial for his best-ever result. While as current national time trial champion he'll be looking to emulate that feat, if not go better this time around in Milan on May 29, there are a few other stages that have caught Meyer's eye.

The Garmin-Cervelo team head into the Giro with Farrar looking for the sprint stages and Le Mevel as their general classification hope so when the Australian is not working for either, he'll be trying his luck in a breakaway on stages 17 and 18.

Meyer explained that with his first WorldTour victory in January at the Tour Down Under, he realised new levels of confidence - "It was a bit of a shock [to take overall] and I had a bit of luck on my side to be able to pull off those victories, but that's the sort of rider I am."

He was the first-non sprinter to win the Adelaide event since 2006 and remarked following his consolidation of the ochre jersey how remarkable it was that "little scrawny Cameron" was now alongside the likes of Andre Greipel on the winners' list. Needless to say, his build is not an issue at the Giro.

"I'd love to be called little scrawny Cam going into the Giro! It should be a benefit being a little bit smaller with all the climbing ahead."


 

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