12 years coming - Meyer 'finally' wins the Australian Championship

Sun 12 Jan 2020

Twelve years after his first appearance at the race, multiple track world champion Cameron Meyer has ‘finally’ won the Australian Championship – the race that has eluded him so many times before.

After finishing fourth on debut, Meyer has been close on several occasions, none more painful than 12months ago when the title slipped through his fingers in the final kilometre.

After a perfect ride by the team, Mitchelton-SCOTT teammate Lucas Hamilton capped off the day with the silver medal ahead of Marcus Culey (Team Sapura Cycling) who claimed bronze.

The 32-year-old, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, followed the effort of Amanda Spratt who won the women’s event earlier today. The last time the team held both the women and the men’s green and gold jerseys was in 2014 (Simon Gerrans and Gracie Elvin).

Early movement:
Keeping a watchful eye on the early moves, Mitchelton-SCOTT ensured they were always represented up front.

After Hamilton made an initial move of three, it was Nick Schultz who joined a more established move of four alongside Marcus Culey, Jason Lea and Cameron Roberts.

Whilst Roberts lost touch, the remaining trio sat around two minutes ahead of the bunch before the big reaction came from behind.

A game of counters:
Amongst the first of the instigators was Callum Scotson, who quickly had Meyer on his wheel and the duo joined Schultz and Culey at the front.

The group was quickly joined by another chase group of four, including Hamilton, before another three bridged across with Luke Durbridge. It briefly gave Mitchelton-SCOTT five out in front, before Schultz lost touch leaving it to his teammates to finish off.

The final 30km was characterised by back-to-back attacks by the remaining group of seven, most amongst the list of favourites at the start of the day.

Using the numbers:
With a little over 20km remaining Hamilton put down his first real acceleration, but the likes of Haas, Jay McCarthy and Chris Harper worked together to bring him back with one lap to go.

Meyer attacked over the top of the final climb and after an initial effort by Haas, the chase lost momentum as they started to look at each other, playing into the hands of Meyer.

With the victory all but sealed, the emotion started to show on Meyer’s face as he completed the final few kilometres. Behind, Durbridge and Hamilton attacked the chase in the hunt for the podium.

Cameron Meyer – 2020 Australian Champion:
“It’s been 12 long years. I fell in love with this race so long ago and I’ve been so close so many times.

“Someone asked me the other day, ‘you’ve got nine world championships why do you want this one so much?’, but my brother has won it, Luke Durbridge one of my best mates has won it, and I just wanted it so badly.

“I want to put that green and gold on and I want to take it to Europe and wear it proudly.

“As soon as the summer comes around and I land on Australian soil, this is one of the races I think about.

“I can’t thank my teammates more. I was given a lot of responsibility today with a bit of leadership and there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that, but my teammates were incredible. We were on the front foot, we always had someone out front and I had someone helping me the whole time. In the end strength in numbers won and today was my lucky day.”

Matt White – Sport Director:
“We needed key guys in the move today. The best chance for us to win was to have a numerical advantage and the boys played that out right to the end.

“Because we had Nick up the road, we were in driving seat and unlike recent years the selection happened later in the race, likely because of the milder weather. Once that selection happened we had the numbers, the guys rode selflessly and together; the goal was to take the jersey back on someone’s shoulder and we achieved that.

“I’ve been 12years with Cam, it’s great to see persistence paying off for him and as a team it does mean a lot to take the jersey back to Europe with us.”

Australian Championships – Road Race Results:
1. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
2. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT)
3. Marcus Culey (Team Sapura Cycling)

Photo courtesy of Hikari Media.