Mission Accomplished: ORICA-GreenEDGE Defends Yellow JerseySun 9 Jun 2013
Cameron Meyer started the first road stage of the Tour de Suisse in the yellow jersey after winning the opening stage time trial on Saturday. He knew it would be a big ask to defend the race lead on the stage two summit finish to Crans-Montana. With full support from his team, Meyer conserved energy ahead of the ascent and rode within himself up the climb. The collective efforts were enough to stay in yellow by 3” over Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp).
“Cam had a cool head on his shoulders to keep the jersey at the end of the day,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “The team did a great job defending.”
“We controlled from the start,” added Meyer. “This allowed me to save energy before the summit finish.”
The weather shortened stage was originally meant to include the Nufenenpass and Furka ascents as a prelude to the Crans-Montana finale. ORICA-GreenEDGE benefited from the stage two modifications.
“Today’s stage was a shortened day compared to what had been originally been scheduled,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “We’ve seen weather modified stages since the start of the season, and today was no different. With the changes, today was essentially a flat stage with a 15-16 kilometre climb to close out the stage.”
“It would have been a much longer day in the office had the earlier climbs been included,” Lapage added. “The changes made the day easier and much more unpredictable.”
When neutral racing gave way to the official start, ORICA-GreenEDGE allowed the early break to take shape. Enrique Sanz Unzue (Movistar) Christophe Riblon (Ag2r La Mondiale), Adrian Saez de Arregi (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Johannes Fröhlinger (Argos-Shimano) held their advantage over the bunch until the base of the summit finish.
“We let a small group of four riders go early,” said Lapage. “Stuey [Stuart O’Grady] and Sam [Bewley] rode tempo to keep the break at a nice distance. The bunch got a bit excited coming into the climb, and they caught the break as the climbing started.”
“[Michael] Albasini and [Daryl] Impey paced me for as long as they could, which was fantastic,” Meyer added. “They got me to seven kilometres to go.”
When Albasini and Impey dropped off the pace, Meyer was left alone in a group of around 40 riders. He defended himself against the constant onslaught of attacks and accelerations.
“The attacks started with the climb,” said Lapage. “The most dangerous move was when Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp) attacked and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp) bridged across to him. Ryder was only caught inside the last kilometre.”
“I felt good on the climb,” said Meyer. “It was definitely a learning experience for me to ride with the big riders. I only lost time in the last kilometre. It was enough to hold onto the jersey.”
Bauke Mollema (Blanco) won the stage thanks to a well-time attack underneath the flamme rouge. With Hesjedal alone up the road, Mollema accelerated away from the bunch, bridged across to Hesjedal and kicked a second time to leave the Canadian in his wake.
“I have 3" on Hesjedal ahead of what looks like a very long, hard day on the bike,” said Meyer. “I’m up for the challenge. Hopefully I can come through alright. Every day that I can keep in yellow is a bonus.”