Meyer splits race apart
A MASTERFUL tactical ride secured Cameron Meyer the Jayco Herald Sun Tour leadership yesterday — and the challenge of defending it.
Living up to its fearsome reputation, the 146km stage from Mt Macedon to Bendigo blew the race apart, leaving only 21 of the 89 survivors in victory contention.
WA’s Meyer (OricaGreenEDGE) was part of a 21rider breakaway that formed on Mt Macedon and stayed away all day before finishing in 3hr 29min 47sec.
The effort earned the world track champion a 10sec time bonus and 4sec overall lead from Avanti’s Joe Cooper.
Pat Bevin, another gifted Kiwi representing Avanti, is third at 15sec from GreenEDGE’s defending champion Simon Clarke, who is 19sec off the lead.
Prologue winner Will Clarke conceded a whopping 25min 38sec, finishing in 86th place as four riders — Alder Martz, Geelong’s Oliver KentSpark, Tom Robinson and Rico Rogers — abandoned in warm conditions.
The first of a distant chasing pack finished more than 21min after Meyer and Cooper had duelled through the streets of Bendigo.
The clustered nature of the general classification — and the fact GreenEDGE and Avanti are strongly represented — means Meyer will be under immense pressure to hold the jersey.
“Hard week now,” Meyer said with a grin. “Look, Simon Clarke did it last year and we’d love to do it again.
“It’s going to be a hard bike race. It’s still very close in the overall standings.”
Given the presence of Avanti’s Pat Shaw and Mark O’Brien in the top 20, Meyer expects the race to become a showdown between the race heavyweights.
He said first serious climb of the stage was decisive.
“The winning move was probably actually the 20 men that went away on Mt Macedon,” he said.
“From there, (it was) the actual attack I did at 10k to go.
“I brought Joey Cooper away with me and at 10k to go it was, ‘head down and drive it all the way to the line and make sure I win the sprint to take the bonus seconds’.”
The surge over Macedon sabotaged the hopes of several big names, including Tyler Farrar, Matt Goss, Steele von Hoff, Caleb Ewan and Will Clarke.
Meyer used experience gained as a track rider to deny Cooper, who refused to do any work in the last 10km.
There were two King of the Mountain contests.
Kane Walker (NavitasSatalyst) claimed the first at Mt Macedon while Rob Power (Jayco-AIS) was the first to crest Mt Alexander.
The Tour resumes today with a 117.9km trek from Bendigo to Nagambie.
The stage starts with a lap around Bendigo’s Tom Flood velodrome before heading for the category three climb at Redesdale after 45km.
From there, the peloton tours through Heathcote, Costerfield and Greytown before finishing alongside the statue of Black Caviar in Nagambie.
The stage is due to start at 10.30am in Bendigo and estimated to finish about 1.30pm.