Cameron Meyer Closes Out Amgen Tour of California in Fifth OverallSun 19 May 2013
Our second Amgen Tour of California came to a close with a dramatic battle up Mount Diablo on Saturday followed by a sprint into Santa Rosa on Sunday. ORICA-GreenEDGE leaves California with one stage podium, seven top ten stage results and fifth overall with Cameron Meyer.
Meyer started stage seven in third on the general classification after a strong time trial in San José saw him make significant gains over several key overall contenders. Satisfied with his new overall position, Meyer knew he faced a tough fight on the penultimate stage summit finish.
A whittled down peloton emerged on the lower slopes of the hors categorie rated Mount Diablo. Meyer maintained contact with the yellow jersey group as the group shrunk in size with riders jumping off the front and falling off the back. He managed to match tempo with his competitors until the final three kilometres.
“Cam felt good the whole way up Diablo and just lost contact on the last steep section,” noted Wilson. “Although he was disappointed with losing third overall, he did a great ride to be in fifth with one day left to race. I think it shows very good progression in his career. Eleventh last year. Fifth this year. Another year or two, and he should be on the top step.”
The peloton did not have much time to recover from their uphill efforts with an early start to the final day of racing. Michael Matthews received the backing from his teammates on stage eight. The day proved faster and harder than expected. Despite losing his lead out in the finish, Matthews managed seventh place in the sprint, his fourth top ten result of the eight day race.
“There were three strong riders in the breakaway,” noted Wilson. “Teams had to work all day to bring them back. Reports from the bunch confirm that it was a hard day. That was a bit of a surprise. I’m not sure if anyone was expecting that.”
Although the three rider escape group put up a valiant fight, they were caught just outside the final ten kilometres. Teams with an interest in the sprint fought for control at the head of affairs around the technical finishing circuit in Santa Rosa.
“Bling [Michael Matthews] lost the train in the end,” explained Wilson. “There were so many corners in the circuit, and it was very hard to keep everyone together. One or two guys would make it through a corner in the right position but another guy would not, and they would have to spend time getting organised all over again. It was really difficult to stay together.”
“Matthews lost [Mitch] Docker’s wheel inside the last kilometre,” Wilson continued. “The team was left on the front without him. He ended up isolated in the sprint, and it cost him the chance for a better stage result.”
Wilson’s young team accomplished a lot during their eight days of American racing, and they learned a lot, too.
“There were a lot of positives from our week of racing in California,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “We lost two riders on the first day, which was a big blow to the team. From there, the rest of us did a great job salvaging something out of this race. We’re proud of Cam for finishing fifth, only 7” off the overall podium.”
“We almost got Michael Matthews up there for a stage win on stage three with great work by our sprint train,” added Wilson. “We were missing some key horsepower in our lead out after losing Fumy [Beppu] and Heppy [Michael Hepburn]. More success would have been better, and a stage win would have been great, but we can feel good about what we accomplished.”