Cameron Meyer wins elite men's road race title at Australian Road Championships

Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) finally won the elite men's road race title at the 2020 Australian Road Championships in Buninyong, Victoria, on Sunday afternoon, having gone so close so many times before.

The Western Australian attacked just ahead of the final climb, shedding his rivals and soloing to an emotional victory, coming home almost a minute ahead of teammate Lucas Hamilton, with Marcus Culey (Team Sapura Cycling) – who'd spent much of the day at the front of the race in the main breakaway – taking the bronze medal ahead of WorldTour riders including Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nathan Haas (Cofidis) and Chris Harper (Jumbo-Visma).

Over the years, Meyer has taken a string of top-10 finishes at the race, including the silver medal in 2016 and bronze last year, when he was immensely disappointed to miss out and was left in tears.

This year, the tears he shed were ones of happiness and relief, having joined his now-retired younger brother, Travis – winner of the event in 2010 – as an Australian road race champion.

"It's been 12 long years," a delighted Meyer told SBS after the finish. "I fell in love with this event so long ago, and have been close so many times.

"My brother won it, and Luke Durbridge – one of my best mates – has won it [in 2013], and I just wanted it so badly, and now I can proudly wear the green-and-gold jersey in Europe," he said.

"I can't thank my teammates more. I was given a lot of responsibility today with leadership of the team, with the pressure that comes with that, but my teammates were incredible," Meyer continued. "There was always someone helping me, and we had strength in numbers.

"This is 12 years of weight off my shoulders. Last year I was so emotional because I'd thought it was going to be me, so now I can't wait to pull the jersey on," he said, before heading to the podium to do exactly that.

How it unfolded

It was Mark O'Brien (Inform TM Insight MAKE) who launched the first attack of the day on the opening lap of the 16-lap, 185.6km elite men's road race, and was soon joined by Mitchelton-Scott's Lucas Hamilton and Jai Hindley (Sunweb).

And while the break would be reeled back in by the bunch a few laps later, having never been given too much rope, all three riders would feature strongly later in the race, with Hamilton eventually taking the silver medal, O'Brien taking 14th place and Hindley finishing 21st. 

Next to try their chances were Hamilton's Mitchelton teammate Nick Schultz and Marcus Culey (Team Sapura Cycling), and, again, what was a heroic ride by 26-year-old Culey to stay at the front of the race – even after getting caught by the favourites – and eventually take the bronze medal will surely not have gone unnoticed by the WorldTour teams attending the race.

Culey and Schultz were joined at the head of affairs approaching 10 laps to go by Jason Lea (Maloja Pushbikers) and Cameron Roberts (GPM-Stultz), and the four riders worked well together to carve out what was a maximum lead of 2:30 with 100km left to race.

Roberts would soon drop back, and be passed by lone chaser Liam White (Oliver's Real Food Racing), and with five laps to go the leading three still held a 1:14 lead over the Team BridgeLane-led peloton, with White left in no-man's land.

On the climb, Lea was the next rider to drop away from the break, and both he and White were reabsorbed into the peloton as Schultz and Culey battled hard to keep their momentum and retain their advantage.

It was on the next time up the climb, with four laps to go, that the race truly came alive, when Meyer and Mitchelton teammate Callum Scotson got away, joining their teammate Schultz, and Culey, on the descent as the likes of Cofidis' Nathan Haas, Bora-Hansgrohe's Jay McCarthy, Chris Harper (Jumbo-Visma) and defending champion Michael Freiberg (ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) scrambled to make contact, taking another Mitchelton man – Australian time trial champion Luke Durbridge – with them.

Mitchelton-Scott in the driving seat

Meyer and Durbridge tried their luck the next time up the climb, but were brought back by Harper, and going across the line with two laps to go, the race was led by nine riders, with Mitchelton appearing to be in the driving seat thanks to the presence of Meyer, Durbridge and Hamilton, even though Schultz had been forced to drop away. 

Hamilton attacked over the top of the climb, and was pursued by McCarthy, Harper and Haas, who were policed by Meyer and Durbridge, with Freiberg and Culey dropped. But while Freiberg's hopes of being able to defend his crown were washed away, Culey managed to get back onto the group on the descent.

Hamilton was caught right on the line with one lap to go, and Meyer was the next to try his luck, ahead of the start proper of the climb, and this time the move stuck as Harper and Haas tried in vain to get back on terms. Meyer began the descent already looking like he'd done enough, and although there were no more up-to-date time checks, they were never needed as a frustrated Haas looked for assistance from McCarthy, who was either unwilling or unable to give any more as Hamilton and Durbridge all but freewheeled over the top of the climb with their teammate out in front.

Culey and Harper were able to join the chase group once more on the descent as a result, but it was too little, too late, with Meyer taking the solo victory, followed by Hamilton and Culey, who'd both managed to escape from the chase group during the fast run-in to the line.

It meant that Mitchelton-Scott had taken both the elite men's and women's titles – thanks to Amanda Spratt – in turn meaning that the green-and-gold Australian champion's jersey will be highly visible in both European pelotons during the 2020 season.

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Full results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 4:48:16
2Lucas Hamilton Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:56
3Marcus Culey (Aus) Team Sapura Cycling 0:01:07
4Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:10
5Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora Hansgrohe
6Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis
7Chris Harper (Aus) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:20
8Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:52
9Brendan Johnston (Aus) Team CCS Canberra Men
10Robert Power (Aus) Team Sunweb
11Robbie Hucker (Aus) Team UKYO
12Drew Morey (Aus) Terengganu Cycling Team
13Ben Carman (Aus) Nero Continental
14Mark O'Brien (Aus) Inform TM Insight MAKE
15Lionel Mawditt (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team
16Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:55
17Cameron Ivory (Aus) GPM-Stulz 0:02:41
18Ayden Toovey (Aus) Team BridgeLane
19Michael Freiberg (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 0:03:48
20Troy Herfoss (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club
21Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:07:22
22Samuel Crome (Aus) Team UKYO) 0:07:32
23Dylan Sunderland (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling
24Samuel Jenner (Aus) Team BridgeLane
25Freddy Ovett (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy 0:08:02
26Rowan Dever (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing
27Alex Holden (Aus) Subaru-Giant
28Luke Cridland (Aus) St George Cycling Club
29Alistair Donohoe (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
30Angus Lyons (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing
31Jay Vine (Aus) Nero Continental
32Harrison Bailey (Aus) GPM-Stulz 0:09:00
33Samuel Volkers (Aus) Memil CCN Pro Cycling
34Steele Von Hoff (Aus) InForm TM Insight MAKE 0:09:30
35Reece Tucknott (Aus) Midland Cycle Club
DNFMichael Rice (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
DNFMichael Potter (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
DNFRyan Thomas (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
DNFKaden Groves (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFDamien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFCallum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
DNFTom Chapman (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNFRylee Field (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNFBenjamin Hill (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNFSamuel Hill (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNFBenjamin Van Dam (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNFTristan Ward (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNFNicholas White (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNFBenjamin Harvey (Aus) St George Continental Team
DNFLiam White (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing
DNFKarl Michelin-Beard (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing
DNFWilliam Hodges (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing
DNFConor Murtagh (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing
DNFNathan Elliott (Aus) InForm TM Insight MAKE
DNFAngus Calder (GPM Stulz)
DNFNick Spratt (Aus) GPM-Stulz
DNFAlex Lack (Aus) GPM-Stulz
DNFTasman Nankervis (Aus) GPM-Stulz
DNFThomas Green (Aus) GPM-Stulz
DNFCameron Roberts (Aus) GPM-Stulz
DNFAaron Watts (Aus) GPM-Stulz
DNFDavid Randall (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing
DNFCurtis Dowdell (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing
DNFMatt Hutchinson (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing
DNFIven Bennett (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing
DNFBrendon Green (Aus) Veris Racing Men's Team
DNFDylan Lindsey (Aus) Subaru-Giant
DNFJordan Villani (Aus) Subaru-Giant
DNFNick Locandro (Aus) Subaru-Giant
DNFScott Trayhurn (Aus) Avantias Pro Racing
DNFAdam Lloyd (Aus) Avantias Pro Racing
DNFTom Leaper (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team
DNFCyrus Monk (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team
DNFMathew Ross (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team
DNFBrenton Jones (Aus) Canyon dhb p/b Soreen
DNFJason Lea (Aus) Maloja Pushbikers
DNFAdam Nelson (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective
DNFNathan Booth (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective
DNFJack Aitken (Aus) Coburg Cycling Club
DNFMathew Bickel (Aus) Balmoral Cycling Club
DNFScott Law (Aus) Marconi Cycling Club
DNFChristopher Ball (Aus) Manly Warringha Cycling Club
DNFWesley Hurrell (Aus) North Western Sydney Cycling Club
DNFBryan Staring (Aus) Australian Time Trial Association
DNFTimothy Lennon (Aus) South Coast Cycling Club
DNFOliver James (Aus) Midland Cycle Club
DNFMarc Williams (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club
DNFRaphael Amouroux (Aus) South Perth Cycling Club
DNFKane Richards (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club
DNFOliver Marshall (Aus) Armidale Cycling Club
DNFTimothy Cameron (Aus) St George Cycling Club
DNFMatthew Sherwin (Aus) Maccabi Cycling Club
DNFJulian Thomson (Aus) Bendigo & District CC
DNFPatrick Saccani-Williams (Aus) South Perth Cycling Club
DNFPeter Milostic (Aus) Penrith Cycling Club
DNFPatrick Burt (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team
DNFRicky Andrews (Aus) Northern Beaches Cycling Club
DNFPeter Wakefield (Aus) Penrith Cycling Club
DNFBenjamin Cureton (Aus) Brunswick Cycling Club
DNFDaniel McConnell (Aus) Bairnsdale Cycling Club
DNFSam Greenwood (Aus) Hawthorn Cycling Club
DNFJoel Coxon (Aus) Hawthorn Cycling Club
DNFMatthew Bird (Aus) Adelaide University Cycling Club
DNFCameron Fraser (Aus) Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club
DNFGarry Millburn (Aus) Alpine Cycling Club
DNFMatthew Byrne (Aus) Tasmania
DNFSam Welsford (Aus) Northern Beaches Cycling Club
DNFDaniel Braunsteins (Aus) Ballarat Sebastapol Cycling Club
DNFTyla Windham (Aus) Albury Wodonga Panthers Cycling Club
DNFAshley MacKay (Aus) Sunshine Coast
DNFJoshua Wilson (Aus) Cradle Coast
DNSChris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb

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