Christian Meier Moves Into Bayern Rundfahrt Polka Dot JerseyThu 29 May 2014
Christian Meier spent the first half of the second stage of Bayern Rundfahrt in a four rider breakaway. Winning the first King of the Mountain (KOM) from the breakaway and the second from the peloton, Meier pulled on the mountain classification jersey by stage end. ORICA-GreenEDGE hopes to help Meier stay in the polka dot jersey through the end of the five day German Tour.
“Christian is a great asset to the team,” said Assistant Sport Director Julian Dean. “He certainly deserves support from us to try to retain the jersey to the finish.”
Meier’s representation up the road was part of the Australian outfit’s approach to stage two. Within the opening ten kilometres, Meier had accomplished his first objective. He joined forces with Sam Bennett (Team NetApp – Endura), Blel Kadri (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne – Séché Environnement), gaining a maximum advantage of 5’15 over the peloton.
“We knew the final climb didn’t really suit us,” explained Sport Director Dave McPartland. “Gerro and Daryl [Impey] are still finding their legs, which is exactly as we had expected given their coming off a break. We thought today was the perfect opportunity to give the guys that are always working for the others a chance to do something for themselves.”
“It was a good day for Christian in particular,” McPartland added. “The bigger guys might have been able to get in the break, but they may have gotten dropped from the break on the mid-stage climb. Christian was the perfect one for us for the race situation we anticipated.”
The mid-stage climb proved decisive. FDJ.fr sent riders to the front to set a blistering pace on the steep ascent. The peloton split, and the bunch was unable to maintain its advantage.
“FDJ ended up putting the hammer down on that climb,” said McPartland. “I think it was less about catching the break and more about having a smaller group, but the pace accomplished both. The climb today was dodgy – wet, reasonably technical and really fast. They might have just wanted to stay safe in the front, but they completely split the peloton in the process.”
Jens Mouris and Aidis Kruopis ended up in the second group on the road. Gerrans, Impey, Meier and Sam Bewley made the selection.
Inside the final ten kilometres the front group continued to split. By the time Mathias Frank (IAM) soloed to the stage win, riders were all over the road. They hit the finish line in Reit im Winkl Winklmoos-Alm alone or in groups of two and three. Impey was the top finisher for ORICA-GreenEDGE in 18th place at 1’17.
“The team worked for Impey in the end,” noted Dean. “It was a pretty hard climb to the finish – maybe harder than we expected. Daryl was just going to see how he was feeling. It was a good chance to see how he’s shaping up in the period leading up to the Tour de France.”
“It was another miserable day with a lot of rain and temperatures around 11 degrees Celsius,” Dean added. “It’s not easy to ride in these sorts of conditions, but the guys are good spirits. I think they’re all happy to be back racing again.”