Tour of Beijing Preview: High Hopes for Final Race of the SeasonWed 9 Oct 2013
With Cameron Meyer and Michael Matthews amongst ORICA-GreenEDGE’s eight-rider squad for the Tour of Beijing, the Australian outfit hopes to end the season with a two-pronged approach to the final race of the season. Meyer represents the team’s general classification ambitions while Matthews will chase stage victories.
“We’re looking to get some good results to finish off the season,” said Sport Director Matt White. “We’d like someone with a high overall placing. We’ll look to Cam for that. We’re also on the hunt for stage wins with Michael Matthews.”
Matthews recently won two stages at the Vuelta a España. His double victory in his Grand Tour debut came on the heels of two stage wins and the sprint jersey at the Tour of Utah. The 22-year-old carries his strong late season form to Beijing where he targets the projected bunch sprints on the first and fifth stages.
“I think we will see two bunch sprints this year on stage one and five,” said Meyer. “Anything can happen on stages two and three with the hills along the way. Stage four is the hardest, and it’s the first time this race has had a mountain top finish. This is where I think the race will be won, but I think all the racing will be fast and aggressive.”
Although Meyer’s early season was disrupted by injury, the second half of his season has shown his promise as an overall contender. Meyer finished sixth overall at Tour of Turkey in April, fifth overall at Amgen Tour of California in May and rounded out the top ten in Tour de Suisse after winning the opening prologue and wearing the yellow leader’s jersey for two days.
Although the team had originally looked to Meyer to provide crucial support to Pieter Weening in China, Meyer will now step up into a sole leadership role. Weening was forced to withdraw from Tour of Beijing due to injury sustained during a crash at Il Lombarida on Sunday.
“We have some high hopes and big goals for the team this year at Tour of Beijing,” said Meyer. “We have a strong squad. I hope to do something in the overall standings. I think Michael Matthews has a chance at some stage victories, and we also have some riders for the breakaway.”
Christian Meier is an obvious option for the escape group. The Canadian has become a common fixture at the front of the field or in the early break. His work paving the way for the results his teammates achieve with his support.
“I will be in Beijing to support our leaders the best that I can,” said Meier. “We have a strong team for the sprints as well as the overall. I’ll ride on the front on the sprint days and do my best to support Cam in the mountains.”
White is confident his team can close out the year on a high note. He calls the Tour of Beijing a fitting conclusion to the squad’s second season.
“We start the season in Australia, and we end the season in China – which is the next closest WorldTour race to home,” said White. “Cycling is the new thing to the Asian continent at this level. The same thing could have been said about Australia 10-15 years ago when the Tour Down Under first arrived. Look how cycling in Australia has changed since then.”
“Tour Down Under has been a big part of the change in Australian cycling along with the results achieved by riders from Australia,” White noted. “The Tour of Beijing could be something similar for Asian cycling.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Tour of Beijing: