Gusty ride by Meyer on stage 15 of Vuelta a Espana

Sun 7 Sep 2014

2014 Tour de Suisse stage winner Cameron Meyer has put on a gutsy performance in the breakaway on stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana today.

Meyer, who has spent the last two weeks on domestique duties for the ORICA-GreenEDGE team, made a move of five riders after an hour of racing and was caught by the fast finishing overall contenders in the final three kilometers.

The 26-year-old’s breakaway companion Przemyslaw Niemiec (LAM) held on for the victory.

“We had a really really hard start,” sport director Neil Stephens said.

“A few of our guys were trying to go with the move. Adam (Yates) and Simon Clarke tried a few times and Cameron ended us picking the right move which was great.

“Throughout the day, it looked like there may have been the chance to take out the win.  Cameron may have just been a little over generous; the other guy was in the break yesterday and maybe that played on his mind a little.”

Niemiec (LMP), Francisco Javier Aramendia (CJR), Kristof Vandewalle (TFR) and John Degenkolb (GIA), who was in pursuit of intermediate sprint points, joined Meyer in the escape.

With his mission completed, Degenkolb’s day was over and the remaining group of four tackled the latter and tough part of the stage. With ten kilometres to go a change in pace by Meyer looked to have put a gap into his breakaway companions before Niemiec recovered and went on for the stage victory.

Colombian Esteban Chaves, riding for general classification in his debut grand tour, started to suffer from the back-to-back demanding days dropping to 24th overall.

After working hard in the first two weeks of racing, the focus will now switch to preservation for the 24-year-old.

“Esteban has been starting to show signs of fatigue,” Stephens said.

“The warning signs were coming and we knew that he was going to crack at some point but we said we would continue to support him for as long as he wanted to see how far we can go.

“On previous days he has been going out the back once it was down to the last 15-20 guys, but today when he lost contact a little bit earlier in the climb I went straight up to him and said ‘take it easy, use the smallest gear you can and let’s just get to the finish’.”

An invaluable experience for him and the team, Stephens explained the challenge that now faces the young rider in completing the Vuelta.

“He has ridden two weeks of general classification, it’s been a fantastic learning curve for him but the demand of the stages is starting to get on top of him,” Stephens said.

“Now we will just get him to shut it down, ride it as easy as he can, attempt to finish this Tour of Spain which is important mentally. 

“It’s already a big ask to get him to finish this race after what he has been through over the last two weeks.”

Tomorrow’s stage 16 offers no respite with the third consecutive mountain top finish and no less than four category one climbs to tackle.