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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Oh yeah baby! Gold medallist and Aussie Road Champion Travis Meyer from Western Australia.
Former Australian road champion enjoying new team
Having spent the last two seasons with Orica-GreenEdge, Travis Meyer has found himself a new home at Drapac Pro Cycling and is looking forward to racing with the Australian outfit in 2014. The 2010 Australian National Road Race Champion will be one of the many cards Drapac can play during the men's race on Sunday around the Buninyong circuit as the team chase the green and gold jersey.
"It's really exciting to back at Drapac, they're really moving forward as a team to Pro-Continental now which is exciting for myself and the team," Meyer told Cyclingnews.
Yet to finalise his 2014 racing program, Meyer is set for a return at the Tour Down Under. "At this stage I'm named with for Tour Down Under which is pretty exciting to start off with our biggest race of the year," Meyer said. "From there I need to speak to the directors and map out a plan but I know they have some ideas in their head and I have some ideas so we'll talk about it and come up with a good balance of races."
While Meyer excelled on the track winning multiple junior world tiles, he never contemplated a return to the boards with the road his sole focus. "The track has never entered my mind at all for the last three years. I did my days a junior but I think that's it for me," he said.
Meyer's last win on the road was his national title and while he would welcome another win, he is more than happy to contribute to the success of his teammates across the season as well. "I think I'd just like to get back to a good level. Whether that's winning or helping my teammates win, that fine either way by me. If I could be at the pointy end of more races that would be good for me and just being a bit more competitive in my racing as well."
During the Tour of Langkawi last year, Meyer told Cyclingnews that he had struggled at times to discover his calling at the professional level but is now more sure of his qualities on the bike. "I'm always going to be a bit of an all-rounder. I'm not ever going to be a mountain climber but I can get up them ok.
"I can time trial quite well so I think I'm a good all-rounder. You won't see me win the Tour de Suisse anytime soon. Opportunities stick, all rounder. That's the kind of rider that I am."
Open race on Sunday
In what is arguably the highest quality field ever seen at a national championships, Drapac are hungry for win and have two riders who have previously won the green and gold. Darren Lapthorne soloed to victory in 2007 and one of the riders capable of a repeat victory within the squad. "I'm going not too bad and I think there are some guys in the team going better than me at the moment so if I can help them out at the end of the race that would be good," Meyer explained to Cyclingnews.
"We're quite confidant as team and if you get in the right move at the right time, who knows."
With Cadel Evans and Richie Porte more than capable of taking an upset victory, the race is likely to be controlled by Drapac and GreenEdge due to their superior numbers although Meyer praised the qualities of several key rivals and isn't taking anyone lightly.
"Obviously GreenEdge will be the big one to watch. Garmin are really good as well and there are so many good riders which will make the race exciting. It's going to be so unpredictable. I don't think that necessarily one of the two big teams, us and GreenEdge, will be the guys who win at the end of the day. It could be anyone."
Offering a tip for the race, Meyer suggested that an in-form Tim Roe could be one to watch.
"I really hope that Tim does well. I raced a lot with him at the U23's and he has had a lot of setbacks but his time trial went really well so I think he'll be a bit of dark horse come Sunday," he said.