Australian nationals: Meyer joins team-mate Bobridge as a 2011 championship winner
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Australian nationals: Meyer joins team-mate Bobridge as a 2011 championship winner

by Conal Andrews at 11:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, National Championships
Other titles go to Shara Gillow and Luke Durbridge

Cameron MeyerTwo days after his Garmin-Cervélo team-mate Jack Bobridge soloed to a superb victory in the Australian road race championships, Cameron Meyer defended his national time trial title in Learmonth. He beat Bobridge by 13 seconds and world under 23 road race champion Michael Matthews by 21 in the 38.2 kilometre test.

“It is an extra special (birthday) present and something I trained hard for over December, so to come out and win back to back is very nice,” he stated after the race. “I am looking forward to taking the jersey over to Europe to represent (Australia) again.”

The 23 year old has emerged as one of the most promising young riders in the sport, with his haul for 2010 including track world championship titles for the points race, Madison and team pursuit and Commonwealth Games titles in points and scratch races plus the team pursuit. He was also third overall in the Tour of Oman and finished his first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia.

That kind of ability meant that there was the burden of expectation that he would deliver in the time trial.

“There is that extra little bit of pressure knowing that you are going to be starting last, extra expectations on the shoulders, but it did motivate me to train that little bit harder,” he said. “I went in there knowing that I could win and that's what I wanted, the gold medal and the jersey.

“It is really hard to ride a forty kilometre time trial in January as you don't have the races under your belt that you do in July and June and the course was totally different to last year and the weather conditions weren't ideal out there and you had to be really careful on the corners, it was very hard to see.

“But that's a part of bike racing and I am very happy that I adapted to the conditions this year and last year and got the win.”

Bobridge had an epic performance on Sunday, being clear for most of the road race and soloing clear in the second half of the event. That undoubtedly sapped his strength a little today, but he was happy with his silver medal.

“When I got on the bike this morning, I knew my legs were still a bit tight and tired from Sunday road race,” the 21 year old stated. “But that was to be expected, and I am still stoked with second place.” He said that finishing close to Meyer was motivating for him as his team-mate was so strong in races against the clock.

Ditto for world under 23 road race champion Matthews, who generally has been regarded more of a sprinter. “It was a first day on the new Giant (bike), so it was a bit interesting over the first ten kilometres, but I managed to get my tempo going over. It is a dream come true coming that close to a rider of that ability.”

Gillow and Durbridge win titles for women and under 23 riders:

The women’s race was a tighter run event, with Queensland's Shara Gillow beating Taryn Heather by just under three seconds. The 2010 road race champion Ruth Corset of Queensland was third, half a minute back.

"I am pretty happy with my ride today, I haven't looked at any times yet, but I am just happy to be (the) Australian champion,” she said.

Gillow battled against the elements as much as against her competitors, and said afterwards that the heavy rains affected her time. “(In the wet) you have to take different lines around the corners. I think I literally stopped on the corners, probably took them a lot slower than I should have, so I need to work on (riding in) wet conditions,” she said.

Gillow was eighth in the elite women’s time trial at the world championships last autumn. That performance shows just how notable the near-victory by Heather was, given that she has a background in distance running and only took up cycling four months ago as part of a fitness regime.

“I had no idea what to expect, I have been training and just came out and gave it my all,” the 28 year old said. “I just wanted to finish in this weather.”

If Gillow’s eighth place in the worlds marked her out as the big favourite for the women’s race, Luke Durbridge’s runner-up slot in the 2010 under 23 worlds TT highlighted that he was an even bigger favorite for his event. So it proved, the 19 year old beating Queensland's Michael Hepburn by 50 seconds. Another Queenslander Jay McCarthy completed a clean sweep for Team Jayco AIS with bronze, one minute and four seconds behind.

“I am really stoked to take this out, as it will be really good to wear the under 23 national colours in Europe,” stated Durbridge.

He underlined his class last October when he missed out on gold to Taylor Phinney (USA) by just 1.9 seconds. The performance saw him become the youngest ever medallist in the U23 worlds TT.

“I came here as one of the favourites so I had a fair bit of pressure, and as I had Rohan [defending champion Rohan Dennis] chasing me, I was a bit nervous,” he said. “So probably I rode a little bit on fear, hoping I could take it out today, and I think running on adrenaline worked.”

Hepburn had hoped for gold, but said that he was fine with the result. “You go out to win, but look who won – one of the best time triallers in the world. My preparation hasn't been all that great, so I can't be disappointed with second.”

McCarthy took silver in the junior category at last year’s worlds and was motivated by his performance in his first year in the Under 23 ranks.

“First year out of juniors and the last 12 months I have really worked on my time trial,” said the 18 year old. “I and am happy to get third today.”

With the championships now over, the riders will look at the events coming up in the next few weeks. Some of the Elite competitors have a very important stage race ahead, and Bobridge said that he is motivated to perform well.

“Now we look to next week's Tour Down Under as our results here show that we have good form. We have a very good strong team there too,” he stated.


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