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Cameron Meyer in the solo breakaway
"My body is still used to riding the track"
Cam Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) is looking forward to the remaining stages of the Vuelta a España after a difficult start in which he saw his ambitions for the general classification disappear in the opening days. Meyer came into the grand tour - the fourth of his career - with the hopes of riding GC but it things haven’t quite worked out for the 24-year-old Orica-GreenEdge rider.
"I didn’t really know what to expect. All I did was train as hard as I could and I’d had a few good results earlier in the year with a 10th at Tirreno [Adriatico] and 11th at [Tour of] California so we thought ‘let’s test it in a grand tour for the general classification’. We didn’t know if I’d last 3 days, 1 day or if it would be three weeks - if I was going really well," Meyer told Cyclingnews.
Meyer spent a number of months preparing specifically for the three-week race, completing a number of high altitude training camps and back-to-back days behind the scooter in the mountains of Spain but the Australian quickly realised he needs more time before being a true general classification contender.
"In this instance we found out pretty quickly. I didn’t have the best start in the first four days and sort of lost the GC hopes. But I didn’t know what to expect - we found out pretty quickly that the level is really high for the general classification and it’s going to take a few more years of experience.
Despite the extra effort in training and nutrition Meyer believes his years on the track have meant he will need a little longer to adapt to a full time road career.
"I spent a lot of time doing the extra percentages in training, nutrition and different things like massages and plunge pools. I did everything right but my body is still getting used to coming off the track. I’ve grown up, over the past five or six years doing a lot of track racing. It’s new to me doing these real heavy blocks training on the road, spending time at altitude and doing long training camps. I spent a lot of time in the mountains whilst really trying to drop my weight, which you really have to do to be able to ride with the front group at these types of races," he said.
Meyer says his form is still very good and with a rest day and the first week behind him, that the next couple of weeks should offer a number of opportunities to go "hunting" for stages.
"I’ve still got good form and I’ve come in with a really good training block under me so now I’m just going to look at hunting for a stage win now. I really want to show that I have the form to back up over a number of tough stages through the remaining weeks," he told Cyclingnews.
"It was certainly a tough start but I’ve relaxed a lot since the general classification ambitions are gone. I had a crack during the Andorra stage and I’m feeling a bit better and looking forward to having another crack in a few more stages. Stage fifteen looks on paper, like a good one for the breakaway. I’ve sort of pencilled that one in but there are few others that I like the look of. I might have a nudge in the time trial [on stage 11] and see if I can get a top-10."
While the Australian public may have to wait a little longer to see another general classification contender at the grand tours, Meyer is confident that with some more experience in the coming years, that he will be able to be up there with the best.
It’s a new experience for me and I think it’s going to take my body a little while to handle day-in and day-out at the highest level on the road. I was used to being more of a power athlete with more weight for the track and now it’s time to change. I think in a couple of years, hopefully I’ll be able to ride for a better result.