Dominant display in points race attributed to strong road programme
Cameron Meyer took one of Australia’s two gold medals on opening day of the world track championships in Ballerup, Copenhagen, dominating the points race on Wednesday. The 22-year-old is likely to ride two more events and will aim to use his sparkling form to good effect in those.
“We have got the team pursuit on Friday,” he said. “We have got a really strong lineup, although I don’t yet know what the actual starting lineup is going to be. I could be in that race on Friday and I am sure that the Aussies are going to give it a red-hot crack. Then I have got the Madison where I was a silver medallist with Leigh Howard last year – that’s on Saturday night, and I am really looking forward to that one as well.”
Twelve months ago, the smooth-pedaling rider took three medals in the world championships in Poland. He took the aforementioned silver with Howard in the Madison, scooped another in the team pursuit, and won the points race. On that occasion his margin of victory was much less; he beat Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Denmark) by two points, and Britain’s Chris Newton by three.
This time round, he was simply streets ahead of the rest of the field. Early on he picked up 20 points when he and three others lapped the rest of the bunch. Then, in the second half of the race, he sealed his overall victory when he confidently forged clear and gained another lap, solo.
“I was told by my coach on the sideline that all the guys were tired, but I still had a lot left in me,” he explained. “I sort of rolled away and looked behind and there was no-one with me. So I thought, ‘okay, this is the time to go again’ and so I did.
“While I was out there, I just controlled my breathing, controlled myself, took the points and took the lap. I knew from there all I had to do was cover the rest of the riders for 30 laps and I had it won.”
Meyer’s final points total was 70, more than double the 33 points clocked up by Peter Schep (Netherlands). It was an utterly dominant display and the longer the race went on, the more comfortable he seemed. There was no doubt that the right rider prevailed.
Meyer agreed with the suggestion that his participation in big road events has helped him pull further ahead of his track rivals.
“My road career is also taking off with the Garmin Transitions team. I did the Tour Down Under and I did the Tour of Oman, where I had some good legs and some good performances,” he explained. “I think you have got to be on the road for the points race; it is 160 laps, you have got to be road fit, you have to be able to go for a long period of time and be very good at the longer distance.
“I think that riding in the professional ranks just makes me even stronger going onto the track. I believe that gave me an edge today; in the second half of the bike race, I was the strongest out there, and the road has a lot to do with that.”
Second Grand Tour coming up
Meyer will go from extremes once the track worlds ends on Sunday. He said that his first race back on the road will be the three-week Giro d’Italia, switching the emphasis completely from the pure speed needed on the boards to the stamina and day-to-day recovery required in a Grand Tour.
He doesn’t seem fazed by the challenge, believing that he will have an important part to play in the team’s race.
“It is quite big going from the track worlds to the Giro, but my team Garmin Transitions really has good faith in me. Matt White is the directeur and he knows me really well,” he said. “He is my coach and will train me up for the Giro this year. There is a team time trial which they use me a lot in, being one of the stronger riders as the Australian time trial champion. I am really looking forward to the Giro this year and I think it is only going to help me in both my road and track career.”
Meyer, his brother Travis and their fellow Aussie Jack Bobridge are all part of the Garmin team this year and he said that it’s a very easy squad to slot into. He clearly likes the way it is run.
“Jonathan Vaughters has a great setup with Garmin Transitions. With Matt White being my coach and the head director, it was such an easy fit. All the riders are on an English-speaking team, so it was such an easy transition from the Australian Institute of Sport programme, which itself was a great stepping platform from the under 23s going into the professionals. The move to Garmin has been a great transition; I am very happy with the step-up I have had.”
White said that he was impressed with how his protégée handled yesterday’s race, and that he wouldn’t be surprised if more gold medals were in store.
"Tonight Cam showed nothing but class. He's captured back to back world titles and I'm sure he won't be leaving Copehagen with just one rainbow jersey,” he said. “We're looking forward to having Cam and our other Aussie track stars (his brother Travis and Jack Bobridge) back in the fold and on the road after Worlds.”
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