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.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||4:48:16|
|2||Lucas Hamilton Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:00:56|
|3||Marcus Culey (Aus) Team Sapura Cycling||0:01:07|
|4||Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:01:10|
|5||Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora Hansgrohe|
|6||Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis|
|7||Chris Harper (Aus) Team Jumbo-Visma||0:01:20|
|8||Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:01:52|
|9||Brendan Johnston (Aus) Team CCS Canberra Men|
|10||Robert Power (Aus) Team Sunweb|
|11||Robbie Hucker (Aus) Team UKYO|
|12||Drew Morey (Aus) Terengganu Cycling Team|
|13||Ben Carman (Aus) Nero Continental|
|14||Mark O'Brien (Aus) Inform TM Insight MAKE|
|15||Lionel Mawditt (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team|
|16||Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:01:55|
|17||Cameron Ivory (Aus) GPM-Stulz||0:02:41|
|18||Ayden Toovey (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|19||Michael Freiberg (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast||0:03:48|
|20||Troy Herfoss (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club|
|21||Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb||0:07:22|
|22||Samuel Crome (Aus) Team UKYO)||0:07:32|
|23||Dylan Sunderland (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling|
|24||Samuel Jenner (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|25||Freddy Ovett (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy||0:08:02|
|26||Rowan Dever (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|27||Alex Holden (Aus) Subaru-Giant|
|28||Luke Cridland (Aus) St George Cycling Club|
|29||Alistair Donohoe (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast|
|30||Angus Lyons (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|31||Jay Vine (Aus) Nero Continental|
|32||Harrison Bailey (Aus) GPM-Stulz||0:09:00|
|33||Samuel Volkers (Aus) Memil CCN Pro Cycling|
|34||Steele Von Hoff (Aus) InForm TM Insight MAKE||0:09:30|
|35||Reece Tucknott (Aus) Midland Cycle Club|
|DNF||Michael Rice (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast|
|DNF||Michael Potter (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast|
|DNF||Ryan Thomas (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast|
|DNF||Kaden Groves (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Callum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|DNF||Tom Chapman (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNF||Rylee Field (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNF||Benjamin Hill (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNF||Samuel Hill (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNF||Benjamin Van Dam (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNF||Tristan Ward (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNF||Nicholas White (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNF||Benjamin Harvey (Aus) St George Continental Team|
|DNF||Liam White (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|DNF||Karl Michelin-Beard (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|DNF||William Hodges (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|DNF||Conor Murtagh (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|DNF||Nathan Elliott (Aus) InForm TM Insight MAKE|
|DNF||Angus Calder (GPM Stulz)|
|DNF||Nick Spratt (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|DNF||Alex Lack (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|DNF||Tasman Nankervis (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|DNF||Thomas Green (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|DNF||Cameron Roberts (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|DNF||Aaron Watts (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|DNF||David Randall (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing|
|DNF||Curtis Dowdell (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing|
|DNF||Matt Hutchinson (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing|
|DNF||Iven Bennett (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing|
|DNF||Brendon Green (Aus) Veris Racing Men's Team|
|DNF||Dylan Lindsey (Aus) Subaru-Giant|
|DNF||Jordan Villani (Aus) Subaru-Giant|
|DNF||Nick Locandro (Aus) Subaru-Giant|
|DNF||Scott Trayhurn (Aus) Avantias Pro Racing|
|DNF||Adam Lloyd (Aus) Avantias Pro Racing|
|DNF||Tom Leaper (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team|
|DNF||Cyrus Monk (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team|
|DNF||Mathew Ross (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team|
|DNF||Brenton Jones (Aus) Canyon dhb p/b Soreen|
|DNF||Jason Lea (Aus) Maloja Pushbikers|
|DNF||Adam Nelson (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective|
|DNF||Nathan Booth (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective|
|DNF||Jack Aitken (Aus) Coburg Cycling Club|
|DNF||Mathew Bickel (Aus) Balmoral Cycling Club|
|DNF||Scott Law (Aus) Marconi Cycling Club|
|DNF||Christopher Ball (Aus) Manly Warringha Cycling Club|
|DNF||Wesley Hurrell (Aus) North Western Sydney Cycling Club|
|DNF||Bryan Staring (Aus) Australian Time Trial Association|
|DNF||Timothy Lennon (Aus) South Coast Cycling Club|
|DNF||Oliver James (Aus) Midland Cycle Club|
|DNF||Marc Williams (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNF||Raphael Amouroux (Aus) South Perth Cycling Club|
|DNF||Kane Richards (Aus) Gold Coast Cycling Club|
|DNF||Oliver Marshall (Aus) Armidale Cycling Club|
|DNF||Timothy Cameron (Aus) St George Cycling Club|
|DNF||Matthew Sherwin (Aus) Maccabi Cycling Club|
|DNF||Julian Thomson (Aus) Bendigo & District CC|
|DNF||Patrick Saccani-Williams (Aus) South Perth Cycling Club|
|DNF||Peter Milostic (Aus) Penrith Cycling Club|
|DNF||Patrick Burt (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team|
|DNF||Ricky Andrews (Aus) Northern Beaches Cycling Club|
|DNF||Peter Wakefield (Aus) Penrith Cycling Club|
|DNF||Benjamin Cureton (Aus) Brunswick Cycling Club|
|DNF||Daniel McConnell (Aus) Bairnsdale Cycling Club|
|DNF||Sam Greenwood (Aus) Hawthorn Cycling Club|
|DNF||Joel Coxon (Aus) Hawthorn Cycling Club|
|DNF||Matthew Bird (Aus) Adelaide University Cycling Club|
|DNF||Cameron Fraser (Aus) Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club|
|DNF||Garry Millburn (Aus) Alpine Cycling Club|
|DNF||Matthew Byrne (Aus) Tasmania|
|DNF||Sam Welsford (Aus) Northern Beaches Cycling Club|
|DNF||Daniel Braunsteins (Aus) Ballarat Sebastapol Cycling Club|
|DNF||Tyla Windham (Aus) Albury Wodonga Panthers Cycling Club|
|DNF||Ashley MacKay (Aus) Sunshine Coast|
|DNF||Joshua Wilson (Aus) Cradle Coast|
|DNS||Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb|
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