Marauding Meyer makes race lead his own

A world champion on the track and the reigning Australian national time trial champion, Cameron Meyer today demonstrated why he owns these titles with a calculated, powerful and ultimately fruitful ride to take both the stage from Norwood to Strathalbyn and a stranglehold on the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under with just two days remaining.

Despite a crash just two days ago in Mannum, Meyer attacked with four other riders with about 80km remaining to form a powerful quintet that stayed away - save for Rob Rujigh - for the rest of the stage. It was a mammoth effort and an oversight of sorts by the sprinters' teams, which let the move remain ahead for that long.

With two men in the day's main move and another card up its sleeve, Garmin-Cervelo pulled the strings of the Tour Down Under peloton to perfection, managing to foil the plans of Omega Pharma-Lotto, HTC-Highroad and Team Sky, which all wanted to get their man to the line for the win, much like the corresponding stage during last year's edition.

Instead it came down to a small sprint between Meyer, Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Laurens ten Dam (Rabobank) - and they finished in that order, with Meyer's teammate Matthew Wilson finishing in fourth.

"It's always hard to stay away, especially this race, [which is] renowned for the sprints," said Meyer after the finish. "We worked really well together; it's a credit to the break, it's a credit to my team-mate Matt Wilson.

"To get the stage win is the first thing I thought about - yesterday I missed the split by seven seconds and lost a little bit on GC. So I thought it's going to be hard to make that back, but to get the stage win and throw my hands in the air at the finish line, it's just a great feeling."

Meyer goes into tomorrow's penultimate stage - a 131km journey from McLaren Vale to Willunga with two ascents of Old Willunga Hill - as the man to beat with the South Australian heat kicking into overdrive.

"It's going to be good - good fun," Wilson said of the challenge in store tomorrow. "We have a really strong team for tomorrow's stage; typically it still comes together with about 40-50 guys, we'll see what happens.

"It's a little bit of a shock I guess to pull off a stage in the tour - it's obviously renowned for the sprinters and they've had control of the race so far.

"The bunch rides pretty predictably, they hold their grip to a certain time and then they go 'smack' at the end, so there's no real point banging your head against the wall when you first get out there, it's all about holding the gap nicely and stepping on it before they know what's happened," he continued.

"We were talking the whole time and we said as soon as we get the next time check, we go. It came through at about a minute and a half, we laid it down and when I saw 20km to go, I thought 'it's doable'."

And it was very 'doable'; despite losing one of the leading quintet late in the stage, the combined force of some pedigree riders managed to upstage the fast men, the first of which to finish was Matthew Goss, the erstwhile overall leader. While the finish may have suited riders like Goss on paper, Mayer said it was to his preference, as he demonstrated.

"That really suits me, to have a hard stage finish; just the wind out there was always going to be difficult for the peloton to swap off and it was going to be a bit chaotic," he explained.

"But it's good for me, I like to get out there time trialling in my own rhythm and... it was a really hard finish, after you have to swap off and then sprint, it really suited me.

"We definitely talked among ourselves the whole time, we kept checks on the breakaway times and how far we were ahead, so in the end... we really had to play it cool, really wait. The peloton can bring it back whenever they want so we waited until about 20-30km to go and then we really hit the gas."

It didn't however, and Meyer had his second win of 2011 - which, like his time trial national title, netted him a special jersey - the ochre leader's jersey.

A quality move

The attacks flew thick and fast after the 11km neutral section but it wasn't until the peloton had seen off the day's first intermediate sprint that 'the move' finally made it clear. While it didn't seem like the bunch would give it much leash, the four - soon to become five with the addition of Wilson - had accumulated a lead in excess of two minutes.

"When we went, we went strong," said Meyer. "I don't think we would have stayed away without Matt there, he really saved my legs a little bit.

"He drove it in the last kilometre to make sure we did stay away, gave me the free run at the sprint and in the end I had the legs on the day to just come over the Vacansoleil guy and win the race."

And despite the combined forces of the aforementioned sprinters' teams, the leaders held out for over 80km, Meyer explaining that, "In the last 20km, I knew if I had about a minute and a half I'd have a bit of a sniff coming home with the downhill run into the town and maybe if the tailwind came, I'd be able to hold it - and that's what I did today.

"I went out there to give it a go and our plan today was to put a couple in the break. We had the strength to hold it off. It's a shock to have the jersey, but I'm thrilled."

Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo2:57:55
2Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 1 - Cell 2
3Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:03
4Matthew Wilson (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:00:10
5Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad0:00:24
6Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Ben Swift (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 6 - Cell 2
8Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 7 - Cell 2
9Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) UNI SA - AustraliaRow 10 - Cell 2
12Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank SungardRow 12 - Cell 2
14Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 13 - Cell 2
15André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 14 - Cell 2
16Davide Vigano (Ita) Leopard TrekRow 15 - Cell 2
17Marco Bandiera (Ita) Quick Step Cycling TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 17 - Cell 2
19Allan Davis (Aus) AstanaRow 18 - Cell 2
20Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 20 - Cell 2
22Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 21 - Cell 2
23Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 22 - Cell 2
24Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 23 - Cell 2
25Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky ProcyclingRow 24 - Cell 2
26Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Luke Roberts (Aus) UNI SA - AustraliaRow 26 - Cell 2
28Hayden Roulston (NZl) HTC-HighroadRow 27 - Cell 2
29Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 29 - Cell 2
31Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 31 - Cell 2
33Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky ProcyclingRow 33 - Cell 2
35Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Radio ShackRow 34 - Cell 2
36Ruben Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 35 - Cell 2
37Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Juan José Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank SungardRow 37 - Cell 2
39Ivan Velasco (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 38 - Cell 2
40Steve Houanard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 39 - Cell 2
41Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-HighroadRow 41 - Cell 2
43Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Leopard TrekRow 42 - Cell 2
44Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank SungardRow 44 - Cell 2
46Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky ProcyclingRow 45 - Cell 2
47Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 47 - Cell 2
49Addy Engels (Ned) Quick Step Cycling TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
50Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Francesco Reda (Ita) Quick Step Cycling TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 51 - Cell 2
53Andriy Grivko (Ukr) AstanaRow 52 - Cell 2
54Ben Hermans (Bel) Team Radio ShackRow 53 - Cell 2
55Mathieu Perget (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 54 - Cell 2
56Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 55 - Cell 2
57Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58David Lopez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Inaki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 58 - Cell 2
60Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 59 - Cell 2
61Angel Madrazo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 60 - Cell 2
62Davide Cimolai (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 61 - Cell 2
63Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Quick Step Cycling TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Manuel Cardoso (Por) Team Radio ShackRow 63 - Cell 2
65Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Lampre - ISDRow 64 - Cell 2
66Simone Ponzi (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 65 - Cell 2
67Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky ProcyclingRow 66 - Cell 2
68Maxim Gourov (Kaz) AstanaRow 67 - Cell 2
69Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quick Step Cycling TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Lampre - ISDRow 70 - Cell 2
72Yevgeniy Nepomnyachshiy (Kaz) AstanaRow 71 - Cell 2
73Tanel Kangert (Est) AstanaRow 72 - Cell 2
74Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Juan Horrach (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Miguel Minguez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 75 - Cell 2
77Cameron Wurf (Aus) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 76 - Cell 2
78David Tanner (Aus) Saxo Bank SungardRow 77 - Cell 2
79Jack Bobridge (Aus) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 78 - Cell 2
80Luke Durbridge (Aus) UNI SA - Australia0:00:39
81Danny Pate (USA) HTC-HighroadRow 80 - Cell 2
82Bruno Pires (Por) Leopard Trek0:00:41
83Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 82 - Cell 2
84Simon Clarke (Aus) AstanaRow 83 - Cell 2
85Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radio ShackRow 84 - Cell 2
86Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 85 - Cell 2
87Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 86 - Cell 2
88Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank SungardRow 87 - Cell 2
89Nicki Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 88 - Cell 2
90Adam Hansen (Aus) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 89 - Cell 2
91Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 90 - Cell 2
92Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Katusha Team0:00:45
93Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:58
95Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 94 - Cell 2
96Bert Grabsch (Ger) HTC-HighroadRow 95 - Cell 2
97Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 96 - Cell 2
98Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad0:01:00
99Stefan Denifl (Aut) Leopard TrekRow 98 - Cell 2
100Travis Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:01:06
101Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 100 - Cell 2
102Gregory Rast (Swi) Team Radio Shack0:01:12
103Robbie Hunter (RSA) Team Radio ShackRow 102 - Cell 2
104Markel Irizar (Spa) Team Radio ShackRow 103 - Cell 2
105Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:01:41
106Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quick Step Cycling Team0:00:24
107Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) UNI SA - Australia0:02:09
108Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:02:10
109Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 108 - Cell 2
110Mitchell Docker (Aus) UNI SA - AustraliaRow 109 - Cell 2
111Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 110 - Cell 2
112Alfredo Balloni (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 111 - Cell 2
113