Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge) is set to take the lead in the unofficial ranking of days raced during the 2014 season when he rides the Prudential RideLondon Classic on Sunday. The Canadian will have a total of 82 days of racing on Sunday, most of them at WorldTour events including the recent Tour de France, which he rode after a last minute call-up.
Meier will lead this unofficial standings ahead of Perrig Quemeneur (Team Europcar) and Luca Paolini (Katusha), both who have raced for 81 days so far this season. Last year's record-man was Albert Timmer (Team Argos-Shimano), with 104 points. Meier wrapped up his season with 89.
“I don't think I will be the leader at the end of the year”, Meier told Cyclingnews. “To keep it I must be a little bit over 100 days and I think I will be more around 95. But maybe I will ask the team to put me in five extra days. Why not ride the Tour of Beijing?
“The truth is, I go where the team asks me to go,” Meier said, explaining why he has raced a lot since the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January.
“We always try to set up a plan during the season but through the year many things can change, depending on the riders getting sick or the little changes that the management wants to do.”
A sudden change to his race programme gave Meier the opportunity to take part to his first Tour de France last month. He was called up while on vacation in Las Vegas, three days prior to the start in Leeds, replacing Michael Matthews after the Australian sprinter had crashed.
“The Tour de France was a great experience,” Meier recalled. “It would have been nice to really have prepared for it but at the end, I felt quite good the whole race and I did the job the team asked me to do, and so I supported Gerrans and Albasini.”
After the Tour of Poland comes more racing in Canada
After his three-week journey around France, Meier enjoyed two rest days but felt he had enough energy to start the Tour of Poland just six days after finishing the Tour on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
“When I finished the Tour de France I didn't feel like if I was totally empty," he said. “Every Grand Tour I have done I have gone a little bit better and it's a little bit mental as well. After the Tour I didn't think: 'Oh I should be tired now'. So I kept riding my bike...”
At the Tour of Poland Meier proved he'd recovered well by joining a seven-rider leading group on the queen stage Friday around Bukowina.
“The team wanted to have someone on the breakaway and I also wanted the KOM jersey but at the end it was not possible because the leader [Maciej Paterski of CCC Polsat Polkowice] was part of the group too,” he explained.
Meier finished 56th on stage six of the Tour of Poland and he didn't start the day after, for the final time trial in Krakow. Instead he traveled to London for the Prudential RideLondon Classic.
So far his 2014 race schedule has included WorldTour events such as the Volta a Catalunya, Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Tour de Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné. In addition to the Tour de France and the Tour of Poland, the Canadian cyclist has raced for 56 days in WorldTour events.
One of his moments of the year was the Ardennes Classics, where he supported Simon Gerrans who won Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“As I am a worker it's not as if I am going at my limit every day," Meier explained.
During my career I have always handled a big work load. I'm consistent with no real peak. I have periods where I feel quite good anyway and it helps me to take the opportunities like at the Bayern Rundfahrt (where he was King of Mountains) and the Nationals (where he finished third in the road race).
“I race because cycling is my passion and perhaps that helps me not to be tired," Meier said.
The Canadian rider was supposed to ride the Vuelta a España but his intense racing programme and his late call-up for the Tour de France has earned him an easier end of season on home roads. He will race the Tour of Alberta, the GP Québec and the GP Montréal, all on his home soil, and then perhaps the World Championships and Il Lombardia in Italy.
After that he and his wife Amber will enjoy a well-deserved vacation.