A top-ten performance would have been more than pleasing for Cameron Meyer at this year's Tour of California considering the Orica GreenEdge Australian was struck down with a dose of illness prior to the start of the 2.HC race. The 25-year-old battled through the opening days, putting himself at the head of affairs to move into third-overall with just one final test at Mount Diablo remaining. Falling off the back of the lead group in the finale on the penultimate stage saw his podium place slip away but his perseverance after a less-than-ideal start shows promise for the rest of the year.
Meyer finished just outside the top-ten in the 2012 edition at California and hoped for more in 2013 until last-minute food poisoning resulted in a setback before the race begun. Despite not being at his best for the opening days Meyer kept himself well-place in the often testing winds of the Californian race. His tactical nous and teammates support meant he slowly but surely moved up the rankings.
The hectic wind-swept stage into Avilla Beach, won by the evergreen Jens Voigt (RadioShack Leopard) helped move Meyer closer to the top contenders before he put his time trial prowess on show to finally crack into the top-three on the GC score sheet.
Mount Diablo may have proved too much for the developing Australian who is still building his form after a slower start to the year with injury and post-surgery complications but after eight stages Meyer left the race with fifth overall and a renewed sense of confidence as he looks to battle the mountains at the Tour de Suisse.
"It's been a really good week and I'm really thankful for all the guys that have helped me throughout the week, today they got me right up there, right to the finish but it was just in those last couple of kays that I lost third-place," Meyer said on his team's Backstage Pass.
"From last year [getting] 11th up to fifth this year so hopefully I can keep improving. Now I'm off to Tour de Suisse. It's been a good [Tour of] California.
"We've all got some big races coming up so this is a great step up to the Dauphiné and Suisse that is to come."
Sports director Matt Wilson was generally satisfied with the week that saw the squad lose two riders on the opening day of racing. Along with Meyer's improved GC placing was Michael Matthews who came oh-so-close to a stage win on Day 3 into Santa Clarita but was denied the victory by a fast-finishing Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
"There were a lot of positives from our week of racing in California," said Wilson on the team site. "We lost two riders on the first day, which was a big blow to the team. From there, the rest of us did a great job salvaging something out of this race. We’re proud of Cam for finishing fifth, only 7" [seconds] off the overall podium."
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