Devastated Meyer settles for third at Australian Road Race Championships

Sun 6 Jan 2019

A shattered multiple track world champion Cameron Meyer has settled for the bronze medal at the Australian Road Race Championship in Buninyong today. 

After a tactically perfect race from Mitchelton-SCOTT, Meyer rode over the final climb at the front of the race aongside Chris Harper (BridgeLane), only for cat and mouse games in the final kilometre to backfire on the duo as Michael Freiberg (ACA Sunshine Coast) stormed past to take the victory.

Numbers in the move:
Like the women’s race, the breakaway was keen to form in the opening lap. This time it was a group of 22 who rode away and Mitchelton-SCOTT had Mathew Hayman, Alex Edmondson and Nick Schultz amongst them. 

The peloton wasn’t happy witht he situation and it's restlessness saw more riders bridge across. With Luke Durbridge, Damien Howson and Meyer there, Mitchelton-SCOTT had six in the day’s move of 34. 

A family affair:
To big to remain contained, four riders moved off the front.  

If was a family affair, with Mitchelton-SCOTT pair Edmondson and Durbridge joined by Edmondson’s best friend Harper and Durbridge’s brother-in-law Freiberg.

Mighty Meyer
As the laps counted down, the peloton depleted and was out of contention. It was a different story for the chase groups as Mitchelton-SCOTT still had four in the first chase, as Lucas Hamilton and Michael Hepburn covered the second chase. 

With four laps to go, Meyer showed his intensions, attacking from the front chase group.  He bridged with two for company to the front group to make six at the front, including three Mitchelton-SCOTT representatives.

The final laps:
The intensity of racing started to take its toll on the final laps as one-by-one the front group reduced once again until just Meyer, Durbridge, Harper and Freiberg remained.

Too much cat and mouse:
Meyer and Harper went over the top of the final climb having dropped Durbridge and slightly distanced Freiberg. 

The duo worked together until the final kilometer when the game of cat and mouse began. 

Having not given up, Freiberg came from behind and, taking advantage of their indecisiveness, hit them immediately and sprinted to the victory.  

After a brief chase, Harper and Meyer settled for second and third respectively.

Cameron Meyer:
“I’m trying not to cry too much. I think I’ve been every position but first. I had every opportunity and I’m not sure if I’m more upset at myself or letting down my teammates a little bit. 

“I bluffed a little bit in the final there. I knew the legs had one kick left in them. Freiberg went early, I was hoping he wouldn’t. When he was coming I was trying to play the bluff on Harper and I had to get as close to the line as I could with just one kick left, but it was too much for my legs today. 

“I knew (Freiberg) was going ride tempo, I knew he didn’t have the acceleration on the last lap. He was at 20seconds (over the climb) and I knew he would keep plugging away and as a big boy he’d get that roll coming down to the line.

“I’ve seen guys come back in that final if you fox too much, the problem is I didn’t really have anything to really push to the line. I had to play cat and mouse, and it didn’t work. 

“It’s hard to accept for me. I’ve been on the podium before and I’ve been wanting the green and gold for a long time. Hopefully it'll be my 12th time lucky next year.”

1. Michael Frieberg (Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) 4:44:48
2. Chris Harper (Bridgelane) +0:01
3. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:01

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.