In winning the Jayco Herald Sun Tour by 11 seconds over Paddy Bevin (Avanti), Cam Meyer became the third rider to add his name to the honour rolls of Australia's two biggest stage races. Meyer's victory, set up by his stage one victory into Bendigo, sees him join current teammate Simon Gerrans and former teammate Stuart O'Grady as the only cyclist to have achieved the feat of winning both Australia’s oldest stage race and the Tour Down Under.
Speaking to reporters at his team bus, Meyer explained he is yet to fully comprehend his achievement.
"It hasn't sunk in just yet," Meyer said. "It's a chaotic frenzy after you win a stage race like this. Simon Gerrans sent me a message yesterday to wish me good luck for today's stage. There was a bit of pressure on my shoulders but to join guys like that who have won both races is massive. I am really proud at adding my name to this honour roll."
With Damien Howson setting a high tempo on the third and final climb up Arthurs Seat, GreenEdge were ensuring it would take the very best from Bevin and his teammate Joe Cooper to wrest yellow form Meyer's shoulders. Defending champion Simon Clarke finished off the job, leaving Meyer in prime position to follow Bevin and claim overall victory.
"Damien Howson set an unbelievable pace for about two kilometres of it [the final climb] and I still had Clarke left who took the final part,” he said. "All I had to do was the last 200-metre sprint and only Bevin had a better kick than me in the last part and that was enough to win to the tour. The team covered the whole race for me and basically won me the yellow jersey."
Considered an heir apparent to Cadel Evans as Australia's next grand tour contender, Meyer explained his characteristics are better-suited to the one-week variety of racing, confirmed by his overall win.
"Three years ago people were saying ‘grand tours' and it's all very well and good but if you actually count how many guys in the world can win grand tours is probably five. You're talking Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, and Vincenzo Nibali that are going to win. I think one-week stage races [suit me.]"
After an impressive 2013 which saw him ride his first Tour de France, last season was below Meyer's high standards and to have started 2015 in the manner that he has, the six-time world champion on the track is hoping it's onwards and upwards from here.
"To be quite frank, last year didn't go the way I wanted it to," he said. "I had a lot of sicknesses, I was only in the Giro for a week before I got sick. I really wanted to turn things around this season. You could see I was ready to go at the nationals, I was there at the Tour Down Under as one of the last guys pulling for Daryl [Impey] on Willunga. I've just started the season really aggressively and it just tops off the hard work I did in November and December so it's got the ball rolling, not only for me but for the team, and I am looking forward to Europe.
Having originally been down for the Tour of California, Meyer's program will instead see the 27-year-old turn his attention to Europe with one clear goal in mind.
"This one is a great way to start, I am going to have to go onto bigger ones in the WorldTour when I get to Europe but this is a great stepping stone," he added. "It's only the start of February but to already have a win and a stage win is good for me.
"I've been top-ten at Tour de Suisse and Tirreno, fifth in California and fifth in Turkey so I definitely have that hunger for one-week stage races so wins in Tour Down Under and here, gives me motivation that I can go over to Europe and contest those races. That's where I think my next few years lie."
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