West Australian teenager Cameron Meyer was discharged from hospital just hours before joining his teammates to win gold in the teams pursuit at the Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Gent, Belgium. It was Cameron's third gold medal in 24 hours and the second gold medal for his brother Travis. The pair, along with Victorian Leigh Howard and South Australian Jack Bobridge, rode a time of 4'09"249 to crush their New Zealand rivals, the defending World Champions.
"We went out harder in the first half than the boys had in qualifying and then we used our training and fitness to roll over the top of them in the second half," said Cameron of the strategy that had the teams level at half way. "We really put the boot in for the last half and beat them by more than two seconds."
Cameron had already experienced the spoils of a solo victory in the individual pursuit the night before and a gold medal ride with Travis in the Madison but says the teams pursuit win was extra special. "It's great to win as an individual but to win with the guys you've been training so hard with for this goal has got to be up there as one of the best feelings in the world."
Cameron had spent the night in a local hospital suffering concussion after he and his brother crashed in the Madison final. Travis, who crashed a second time, needed three stitches after doctors removed a 9cm splinter from his back which he has kept as a souvenir. In both instances the crashes were caused by other riders.
"I tried to ride round the crash but the Belgian guy slid straight in front of me and I ended up flying over the handle bars and whacked my head," said Cameron. "It was a bit nerve wracking because we had to quickly get back in the race.
"The second crash for Travis was nerve wracking again," he continued. "But when you're out there and the adrenalin is pumping you really don't think about anything else." It wasn't until after the Madison medal ceremony that Cameron, who was also sporting several cuts and bruises, complained of a headache and nausea. But at the hospital he was more concerned about rejoining the team for the next morning's teams pursuit qualifying round.
"After the cat scan cleared me I felt a little bit better and I was able to talk," said Cameron whose parents Frances and Ken, in Belgium to cheer on their sons, visited him in the hospital. "I told Rik (Team Manager) to make sure he picked me up early and that the mechanics had my bike ready." However, the team management wisely decided to give him more time to recover and Hayden Josefski stepped in for the first round ride in which the Australians posted the second fastest time to qualify for the gold medal final.
"The doctor at the hospital cleared me to leave although he didn't think it was such a great idea for me to race but said it was my call," said Cameron. "I got out of hospital at about four in the afternoon, went to the hotel to grab my gear and then went to the track."
After an impressive trial the team officials gave him the option of whether to race or not. "We then had a pretty emotional team meeting because it meant one of the other guys would miss out on the final," said Cameron. "There were some tears because we're all pretty close but in the end it was Hayden who had to sit it out. He showed great sportsmanship though in helping us prepare for the final, coming with us to the start line and cheering us on."
Cameron now heads to Spa-Francorchamps for the Road Cycling Junior World Championships where he will contest the time trial and road race.