Cameron Meyer Earns Hard-Fought Victory at Tour de Suisse

Sun 15 Jun 2014

Cameron Meyer won the second stage of the Tour de Swisse in a three-up sprint to the line in Sarnen. The Western Australian positioned himself perfectly in the drag to the line, coming from third wheel to outkick Philip Deignan (Team Sky) and Lawrence Warbasse (BMC) for stage glory. The trio were the three survivors from the early six man escape group. It is Meyer’s first individual win of the season, and the 23rd victory for ORICA-GreenEDGE.

“This is a significant win for me,” said Meyer. “The Giro was a big personal goal for the first half of the season. It was great to win the team time trial with the guys, but things went downhill for me personally from there. I got sick. I crashed. Eventually, I pulled out. I really wanted to bounce back and come back strong in the second part of the season. This is a great way to start that.”

“It might be hard to believe but the plan today was always to put Cam in the break,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “We knew we wanted someone in the move, and given our options, he was the best one for the job. We were all committed to helping Cam, and obviously the results of the plan were in our favour.”

All did not unfold according to plan. Whilst Meyer put himself in the race winning move, he struggled to keep himself there in the final hour of the race. Twice Meyer was distanced from the break. Twice he fought valiantly to regain contact and remain in contention for the stage win.

“With Tony Martin in the race lead, Omega Pharma - Quick-Step tried to control most of the day,” explained Stephens. “Garmin came to the front on the descent down the second to last climb, and they really put the pressure on. With the way they pushed the pace and began to close the gap, I thought that would be the end of the break. They took out a lot of time quite quickly.”

“Meanwhile, at the front, the group got into a bit of rhythm and reduced the break to three or four riders,” Stephens added. “Cam lost contact with the front group on the last climb. At that point, there were two guys in the front and Cam was out the back.”

Stephens expected attacks to come from the fast-closing peloton. With Meyer out of contact with the two leaders, Stephens got on the radio and let the rest of team know they could respond to attacks or take the initiative to force moves of their own. 

“I told the guys they had free reign at that point,” Stephens explained. “Nino [Schurter] was thinking about having a crack. He started to move up, but the pace was really hard in the bunch, and he never quite got into the right position to attack.”

“At the same time Nino was moving up, Cam managed to regain contact with the front two,” Stephens continued. “Unfortunately, in the last kilometre before the summit, he lost contact again.”

“I was struggling a bit over that final climb,” Meyer added. “My legs did not feel good, but I knew if I went over the top with less than a half-minute lost, I could time trial back to the two up front – and if I made it back, I knew I would be in for a chance at the stage win. With that going through my head, I went as hard as I could for ten kilometres to catch them.” 

Without updates over the radio, Stephens was unsure of Meyer’s whereabouts. Unbeknownst to Stephens, Meyer was turning himself inside out to bridge back up to Deignan and Warbasse. Ten kilometres from the finish, Stephens learned that Meyer had the duo within sight.

“When we lost contact with where Cam was, the bunch was coming up very quickly behind,” noted Stephens. “I thought Cam had been swallowed up by the bunch, but around ten kilometres from the finish, there was a radio check. It said Cam was seven seconds behind. The two leaders had 1’16 on the field. That’s when I knew he had a good shot at the stage.”

“When he got back on, I told him to do everything he could to recover,” explained Stephens. “The other two guys were the ones under pressure because they were going better than he was on the climb. I told him to recover for a bit, which he did – and then he had to start collaborating because the bunch was coming up from behind.”

“I did exactly as Stevo said,” said Meyer. “I took those few minutes to recover before I started taking turns. I had to work with them because the bunch was coming, and I knew I didn’t want to let them catch us. I had a real shot for the stage win, so it was important that I contribute to keep the peloton at bay.”

With Deignan and Warbasse focused on each other, Meyer flew under the radar in the run to the line. Coming into the finishing stretch, he sat third wheel and patiently waited for the right moment to unleash his sprint.

“With a small group, you can come from the back to win,” said Meyer. “I knew I wanted to start third wheel. The other two thought I was tired because I had been dropped on the climb, and I was happy to let them think that. They looked at each more than at me, which was perfect.”

“They sprinted early,” Meyer added. “I waited. I opened my sprint at 150 metres to go and passed them both before the line.”

“That was all Cam in the sprint,” added Stephens. “I knew I didn’t need to offer him any tactical advice. He’s a very analytic sort of guy, so I knew he would have known the strengths and weaknesses of the two riders with him. There was never any doubt in my mind that he could win. He came from the back and won really easily. It was a fantastic race.”