Cameron Meyer Finishes Fourth at Australian National Criterium ChampsThu 9 Jan 2014
Defending champion and lone ORICA-GreenEDGE contender Cameron Meyer narrowly missed the podium at the elite men’s criterium at the Mars Cycling Australia National Road Championships in Ballarat. Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) took the race in a sprint finish ahead of Anthony Giacoppo (Avanti) and Brenton Jones (Avanti).
Meyer went on the attack early in the race, attempting to emulate last year’s solo breakaway win in the same event. It was a heavily marked move, with the ten-rider strong Drapac team preventing any breakaways from getting too much time over the bunch.
“Cam’s plan today was to try and get away in a break,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “He gave it a good go, but the breaks just never really established. Drapac had too many guys in the field and just didn’t seem happy with the makeup of any of the breaks to really let any get away.”
A number of fast and chaotic attacks characterised the twilight criterium around downtown Ballarat. Meyer was a constant feature in the breakaway attempts, along with a steady string of Drapac riders.
“Drapac had a lot of numbers in the race and they really controlled it,” continued Wilson. “Cam tried to capitalise on that, but they [Drapac] never really committed to the break, so it just didn’t happen. I think they were resigned to the sprint in the end.”
The race came together for the final time with two laps remaining to race. As tension built ahead of the sprint finish, the late-race carnage that marred the women’s event emerged again, with a number of riders going down on the second last corner of the race.
“It was really bad luck for the Drapac guys that they all crashed going into the final, and that ended the race for them,” added Wilson. “We’re happy Cam wasn’t caught up in that- he’s looking good for the road race on Sunday and that’s really our big objective.”
Despite missing out on a repeat victory in the event that he won so convincingly at last year’s championship, Meyer was content with his fourth place finish.
“Cam rode a smart and aggressive race tonight, and he almost medalled but it just wasn’t to be," said Wilson. "He did everything he could to get a result so he’s happy with fourth. With only one rider in a crit like that, it’s hard to expect a result. Last year was a totally different story- he had four teammates and without that support it just wasn’t possible this time.”