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Having made it into a 21-rider group that escaped on the very first climb, Meyer got clear with Cooper in the finale and managed to beat the Kiwi in the sprint to win the stage and take the leader’s jersey

Photo: Herald Sun Tour






05.02.2015 @ 13:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

On a day that was expected to suit the sprinters, Cameron Meyer benefited from his Orica-GreenEDGE team’s hard riding on the first climb to win the second stage of the Herald Sun Tour and take the leader’s jersey. The Australian made it into a 21-rider group that escaped on the first climb and then attacked with Joe Cooper (Avanti) 10km from the finish before beating the Kiwi in a two-rider sprint.


Last year Orica-GreenEDGE played with the muscles on the stage to Bendigo in the Herald Sun Tour, making use of the few climbs to blow the race to pieces on a day that was expected to be for the sprinters. Today they repeated the performance when their acceleration on the first climb inside the first 10km created a 21-rider group that ended up distancing the peloton by more than 25 minutes.


In the end, the team was rewarded for their hard work as Cameron Meyer made use of the uncontrollable situation in the flat finale to launch a strong attack with New Zealand national champion Joe Cooper. Despite doing all the work in the final 10km long, he still had enough left in the tank to beat his companion in the sprint and take a deserved stage win.


Orica-GreenEDGE had put the hammer down with Damien Howson on the first climb and when the dust had settled, they had Howson, Meyer and defending champion Simon Clarke in the 21-rider group that escaped. With most teams represented in the front group, only the Drapac team of race leader Will Clarke showed any interest in the chase but they came up short against the Orica-GreenEDGE, Avanti and UnitedHealthCare riders who all had strength in numbers in the front group.


As it gradually became apparent that the peloton was out of the battle for both the stage win and the overall honours, the front group could start the game for the stage win. Attacks came thick and fast but it was Meyer and Cooper who picked the right move.


With his fast teammate Patrick Bevin in the chase group, Cooper refused to do any work but with Meyer also riding for the GC, he pressed on. He managed to hold off the chasers by an impressive 10 seconds and still was fresh enough to beat Cooper in the sprint while Bevin beat Clarke in the sprint for third.


With the win, Meyer also takes the overall lead from Clarke and he now goes into stage 2 with a 2-second advantage over the New Zealand national champion. He should get an easier day tomorrow which has no major climbs and unless the wind plays a role, it is expected to finish in a bunch sprint.


Two big climbs

After the short opening prologue, the Herald Sun Tour continued with a 156.9km stage from Mt. Macedon to Bendigo. Inside the first 10km, the riders went up the Mount Macedon climb before they hit flat roads. At the midpoint of the stage, they would go up the Mount Alexander but the final 70km consisted of a long, gradual descending run to the finish line.


Waved off by local school children in Mt Macedon, there was little time for games with a short circuit around the town before the first Budget Forklifts King of the Mountain climb began just over four kilometres into the race. Kane Walker (Navitas Satalyst) was the first man to attack, with CharterMason Giant’s Ben Hill attempting a chase but the attack was short lived, the peloton back in one piece by kilometre eight.


A big group gets clear

ORICA-GreenEDGE was keen to get the race moving however, with Damien Howson firing salvos and forcing the group of 21 riders to break free. Howson was joined by teammates and defending champion Simon Clarke and Cameron Meyer, Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka), Lucas Euser,Chris JonesDanny Summerhill (UnitedHealthcare), Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli),Lachlan Norris (Drapac), Patrick BevinPat ShawMark O’BrienJoe Cooper (Avanti), Michael TorcklerBrendan Cooper (Budget Forklifts), Mitchell Cooper (Navitas Satalyst), Chris HamiltonLachlan Morton (KordaMentha Australian National Team), Grant FergusonScott Davies (Great Britain National Team) and Robert Power (Jayco-AIS Australian U23 National Team).


Power was the first man over the Mt Macedon climb, with Canty, Pauwels and Howson picking up the rest of the points and the gap quickly opening up to just under two minutes.


The break splits on Mount Alexander

By the first Chain Reaction Cycles sprint prime of the day, another minute had been added to the breakaway of 21’s advantage with Summerhill, Shaw and Hamilton leading the way.


With Mt Alexander the scene of Simon Clarke’s surge to overall victory in 2014, the stage was set for fireworks once again this time around. With the break hovering at 3:31 over the peloton, ORICA-GreenEDGE again tried to split the group of 21. The efforts saw Howson struggle to maintain contact with the group, but his teammates Clarke and Meyer were attentive to any challenges with the Avanti quartet and Norris leading the charge.


More points for Power

Power took the opportunity to build on his earlier KOM points, guaranteeing he would pull on the Budget Forklifts Polka Dot jersey at the end of the day, with Norris, Bevin and Canty cleaning up the rest of the points.


Norris, who hails from the nearby Castlemaine, was able to pull away on the descent, but he was quickly joined by 10 others: Clarke, Meyer, Pauwels, Pellizotti, Bevin, Torckler, Canty, Ferguson, Davies and Power.

Meantime, the pressure from the breakaway group on the climb had resulted on the gap to the main peloton expanding to just over eight minutes with 75km of racing complete.


Meyer makes his move

The lead group was back together approaching the feed zone with refreshment on offer in the warm conditions, with the flat roads leading into Bendigo offering little respite. This too forcing the peloton to sit up after around 100km with the Sun Tour being decided 15 minutes up the road.


With 10km to go, Meyer decided it was time to make a move. Meyer led Cooper across the finish line on the first pass of the city, earning him the Frank McCaig Memorial Sprint prize. The long sprint down Pall Mall keeping the pair in view as Norris gave chase with the remainder of the breakaway. It was too little consequence, with Meyer and Cooper crossing the finish line 10 seconds ahead of the chase group, lead in by Bevin who was aiming to “sneak some bonus seconds that are probably going to count at week’s end,” he said.



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