Track world champion another year wiser
After spending his first year in the professional ranks, talented young Australian Cameron Meyer believes that the confidence gained in his debut season should help him achieve even bigger things in 2010, which will probably include another ride in the Giro d’Italia.
“I gained confidence after this year’s Giro – obviously it was my first year in the pros and that being my first big race in Europe, it was quite scary and I wondered how I was going to handle it physically and mentally,” said Meyer.
“At the end of 13 stages I felt I could have finished the Giro,” he added. “I think going into next year’s race I’ll have the confidence to realise that I can finish the Giro and come out the other side not being fried and able to compete in other races.”
Some of those “other races” include the Tour de Suisse, where Meyer took sixth on the final stage time trial of this year's edition, beating the likes of Roman Kreuziger, Andreas Klöden, Thor Hushovd and countryman Stuart O’Grady on his way to 68th overall. It wasn’t the final placing on general classification that mattered, rather the indication that he may be a contender in the future.
“[The time trial at the Tour de Suisse] gave me a lot of confidence as well,” he said. “To come out of the Giro and still have the legs two or three weeks later to ride a nine-day tour and at the end of the event do a 40 km time trial and run sixth, within 10 seconds of guys like Sylvain Chavanel and in front of guys like [Roman] Kreuziger… that gave me real confidence that next year I can go that one step further and maybe over the nine days produce better results consistently.”
Another factor in his continuing development is Meyer’s team, the Garmin-Slipstream squad boasting experienced individuals who are more than happy to impart their knowledge to a youngster such as Meyer. He recognises this and speaks glowingly of his first year in the American outfit.
“The guys in Garmin-Slipstream are really helpful. The experience that they have and their willingness to pass that knowledge on is amazing,” said Meyer. “I think I gained about five years’ experience just by listening to them this year! It was great to run around with Bradley Wiggins, who finished fourth in the Tour de France. He’s one guy I can really look to for useful tips given that he has won Olympic gold medals on the track, he’s been world champion and then converted that into being a general classification rider in big tours – it’s really inspirational to me.”
While Meyer can enjoy a limited road racing off-season, 2010 will begin early as he looks to make even more waves in the European peloton by wearing the jersey of the national time trial champion next year.
“In January I’ll start with the open road championships and the Tour Down Under, which are two big events in Australia that I really want to do well in,” said Meyer. “Running second to Michael Rogers by six seconds this year has made me hungry to try and close that gap and be the national champion. The Tour Down Under is now a massive event in Australia and to perform well there in front of a home crowd would be good.
“After that I’ll look to the world championships on the track in Copenhagen and then hopefully I’m going well enough to ride the Giro d’Italia; that would be a major goal for the first part of the season on the road,” he said. “I did it this year, rode 13 stages and hopefully next year I’ll be performing well enough on the road to get selected in that team and ride the full three weeks of that grand tour.”
Meyer is racing at this weekend’s Perth GP before heading to the International Cycling Union (UCI) Track World Cup’s second round in Melbourne later this month.
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