Multiple world champion Meyer ends track career prior to Olympics
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Multiple world champion Meyer ends track career prior to Olympics

by VeloNation Press at 5:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track, Olympics
 
Australian wants to focus completely on road racing

Cameron MeyerCameron Meyer, one of the most exciting track riders in the sport, has decided to call it quits on that aspect of his career. Although the Olympic Games will be held this year and he could potentially be part of a gold-medal winning squad for the team pursuit, the Australian feels that he can’t put off a complete road focus for any longer.

"It was a very hard decision to make but ultimately my passion for the team pursuit isn't 100 percent," said the GreenEdge rider.

Meyer has clocked up no less than six world titles on the track, with the most recent being a dazzling display in the points race in last week’s worlds in Melbourne. He grabbed victory in that race with a last gasp attack, lapping the field, and then went on to take a bronze medal in the madison with Leigh Howard.

Still only 24 years of age, he has the potential for many more gold medals. However the fact that the only endurance events currently in the Olympic Games programme are the Omnium and team pursuit means that he’s got less incentive to stick around.

"In Melbourne I achieved what I wanted to on the track through my points race win and making the podium for the Madison," he said. “I take huge satisfaction from that and now I want to see what I can achieve on the road."

Meyer turned pro with the Garmin Slipstream team in 2009 and has been steadily building his road racing ability. He moved to the GreenEdge team this year and is one of its big hopes for the future.

His road results include victory in the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under, as well as two Australian time trial titles, third in last year’s Tour of Oman and tenth in this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico. There’s a clear imbalance between road and track results, with the majority of his successes being in the latter area, and he wants to concentrate on the new challenge and start building up his road palmares.

The difficulty of interchanging between the two disciplines during the season is also a factor.

"Physically and mentally it's quite hard to switch,” he explained. “[Also] in the last couple of years I've had my focus on the points race and the Madison. I haven't been part of the team (team pursuit) for18 months and I don't know if I am up to competing at the level they are now; riding world record times.

"It's always hard when you see them race and feel you want to be out there and be a part of it but I knew in myself I hadn't done the workload and the training camps and the training that's required now to be part of that.

"You need 100 percent commitment towards that to be able to do the speeds that they're doing and and push the gears that they are. I have full faith in those boys come London. I think they can win the gold medal. They've proven they are one of the strongest teams over the past few years and with or without me I know they'll compete for the gold medal in London."

The Australian team pursuit riders were narrowly beaten by Great Britain in the Melbourne worlds, but have time to turn things around.

Meyer previously took team pursuit gold in the 2010 world track championships. He’s also clocked up three points race titles and two Madison crowns, marking him out as arguably the most talented of Australia’s track riders.

As a result, Cycling Australia National Performance Director Kevin Tabotta will miss him on the squad. However he understands the decision and is pleased that it was made with enough time to focus on the other riders and get them ready for London.

"Of course we're disappointed because Cameron is one of our most talented cyclists, but we respect his decision and we're sure we'll see big things from him as his road career develops," he said. "We have excellent depth in our men's track endurance group and, as we've seen in recent months, they are capable of posting some of the fastest times ever ridden."

He added that it’s simply impossible to predict whether or not the team pursuit squad would be quicker with him in it.

"Cameron has not been in the line up for the pursuit since 2010 and we now won't have an opportunity of finding out if he could have reached or exceeded the level of his past pursuit performances."

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