Meyer Brothers winning team pursuit gold (image courtesy of Cameron Meyer)

Cycling families: The Meyer brothers

Meyer Brothers winning team pursuit gold (image courtesy of Cameron Meyer)

Meyer Brothers winning team pursuit gold (image courtesy of Cameron Meyer)

Cameron and Travis Meyer hail from Perth, Australia. They started riding at a young age and, with only a year between them, have ridden and trained almost constantly together, amassing a staggering number of titles at junior and senior level, largely on the track, but now increasingly on the road too.

Of course, given his track pedigree – world champion in the points race (2009, 2010, and 2012), Madison (2010, 2011) and team pursuit (2010) – you might reasonably expect Cameron, at 24 the elder of the two brothers, to be competing at the London Olympics. But no, he’s riding this week with his brother Travis for Orica-GreenEDGE in the Vuelta a Burgos.

But increasingly, since joining first Garmin and now GreenEDGE, the brothers have turned towards a career on the road. In 2010, when Cameron was Australian national time trial champion, Travis was the holder of the national road race title. Those victories on the road and track saw Cameron voted both best Australian cyclist of the year and, once again, best track cyclist.

Cameron Meyer next to Aussie champ Simon Gerrans at GreenEDGE Launch (image courtesy of Cameron Meyer)

Cameron Meyer next to Aussie champ Simon Gerrans at GreenEDGE Launch (image courtesy of Cameron Meyer)

In 2011, Cameron repeated his success in the national time trial championship and went on to win the overall and stage four in the Tour Down Under, becoming the first leader of the UCI’s WorldTour. This year he was second in the national time trial but won the team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico where he placed tenth overall.

Understandably the boys were, along with Jack Bobridge, the first to be signed to the new Australian WorldTour squad of Orica-GreenEDGE. Team manager Shayne Bannen explained:

During my time at the Australian Institute of Sport I worked with many of the young Australians now making an impact on cycling’s world stage so I’m pleased to be able to continue that with three of our most talented young riders.

Cameron and Jack are going to play a big role in Australia’s success on the track at the Olympics and have already proven their quality on the road. Not many guys can finish the final time trial of a three-week tour in the top ten at such a young age like Cameron has for the past two editions of the Giro d’Italia.

And Travis was making big gains over the past 12 months before injury got the better of him. We know his recovery is in good hands and a minor setback doesn’t change how talented he is. Travis won five junior world titles on the track and as soon as he stepped up to the elite ranks he won the Australian road title at his first attempt.

As an Australian team aiming to be around for a long time it was important for us to make these three guys founding members of the team because they’re going to be around at the top level for a long time.

Travis’ 2011 season came to an impromptu end in late May after Bayern-Rundfahrt as he needed surgery on his left external iliac artery. He explained:

I have been out of action and my season is basically over, so it is great that Shayne and GreenEDGE have shown faith in me by offering a place on their roster for 2012. It’s been a little frustrating sitting on the sidelines for a good portion of the year but that only adds to my motivation.

Initially, Cameron said that one of the reasons for joining the team was having support for his continuing ambitions on the track.

I’ve really enjoyed my time at Garmin-Cervelo but joining GreenEDGE gives me the best support possible to chase my dreams and of becoming one of the leading road riders in the world along with the possibility of riding at the Olympic Games in 2012.

Despite that declaration, a couple of months ago Cameron decided to leave behind the boards for good to focus completely on the road and withdrew from consideration for selection for the team pursuit squad at London 2012. He reasoned that while it was a very hard decision to make, he wanted to see what he could achieve by focussing solely on the road, citing Bradley Wiggins as his inspiration.

Chris Boardman, who won Olympic gold on the track in 1992 and broke the world hour record three times in his career, has singled out Cameron as the pick of the very talented bunch of young Australian cyclists:

He can hardly be called ‘new’ now, but Cameron Meyer is a fascinating prospect. The only thing to understand now is what direction he is going to go and how that is going to manifest itself. Is he going to become a major tour rider? Or is he going to be someone who can grab stages? I will be interested to see how he develops. He is the most interesting prospect to come out of Australia.

However Cameron’s career develops, you can be sure than one of his keenest supporters will be his younger brother Travis who, now he’s fully recovered, may also become a force to be reckoned with on the road. VeloVoices will be keeping a close eye on their continued development starting with the Vuelta a Burgos.

Tour de France: Stage 4 review

Stage 4: Abbeville to Rouen, 214.5km

It was a fairly innocuous stage for most of the 214km, with the peloton riding along the Normandy coast as a three-man break of David Moncoutie (Cofidis), Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) were allowed to dangle off the front for the majority of the stage. The wind didn’t kick up as strongly as expected and, other than a freak downpour halfway through the coastal ride, the stage was pretty uneventful until the last 3kms. The peloton was controlled most of the day by RadioShack’s Jens Voigt and Yaroslav Popovych who, when not driving the peloton themselves, directed teams like Katusha, GreenEdge and Lotto to help at the front.

After the breakaway boys mopped up the lion’s share of points, the intermediate sprint at Fécamp featured Mark Cavendish (Sky) edging out Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge), Mark Renshaw (Rabobank), and Peter Sagan (Liquigas)  to take 13 points. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) was mysteriously absent, appearing to want to save his energy for the sprint finish.  The Manx missile continued to show that he can get the better of Goss and that he is interested in pursuing the green jersey.

With under 8km to go and the break caught, the peloton was at full gas! Attacks came fast and furious with Phillip Gilbert (BMC) and Sylvain Chavanel (OPQS) the biggest threats. As Chavanel was only 7sec off the yellow jersey, RadioShack made sure he didn’t get away. In fact, the yellow jersey himself, Fabian Cancellara, took a turn on the front, eliminating the gaps in front but splitting the peloton to bits behind. The tempo was high, the sprint trains were forming, there was much jostling for position and then – BOOM – at  2.6km, there was a massive crash in the front field that sent Cavendish onto the road hard, along with his teammate, Bernie Eisel and Garmin’s Robbie Hunter. Greipel, meanwhile, was safely tucked away behind a perfectly formed Lotto train at the front.

Andre Greipel (image by Panache/ccarls1)

As the sprint survivors of the crash crossed La Seine, it was down to Greipel, Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre), Sagan, and Goss. The Lotto train, driven by a rampant Greg Henderson, proved too much and Greipel took the sprint with Henderson celebrating behind him. Petacchi finished second and Tom Veelers (Argos-Shimano) finished a strong third. Goss and Sagan were fourth and fifth respectively and the Velvet Samurai  remained well positioned to keep a firm grip on the green jersey.

Fabian Cancellara and the other GC contenders were held up behind the crash but were within the last 3km so the top 10 in the GC remained unchanged.

VeloVoices rider of the day

The rider of the day goes to Andre Greipel who wisely decided to forgo the intermediate sprint points and focus on what he knew would be a fast finish.  The Gorilla was anxious to leave his cage for the Rouen victory banana and would not be denied when the gate opened.  He and his Lotto teammates learned from their Stage 2 defeat that they needed both one more rider in the lead-out train and patience.  While Cavendish was unlucky to be caught up in the crash, Greipel made his own luck by being at the front, surrounded by teammates dedicated to seeing him over the line first. After the finish Greipel was gracious and full of praise for his team:

“I’m just so happy to have those guys on my side, such strong riders to lead me out. It’s what we wanted to do, winning a stage. I’m so happy.”


One has to wonder how badly you need to be hurt for a rider to abandon the race during the stage? This morning it was announced that Rabobank’s Maarten Tjallingii abandoned due to a fractured hip sustained in a crash yesterday. He abandoned this morning because he finished the stage. He rode up that killer climb at the end of Stage 3 with a fractured hip. So excuse me while I laugh at footballers who get paid 10 times more than a cyclist yet fling themselves to the ground at the slightest tap of a boot. Man up and take it like a cyclist!

Tactical analysis

There have been big crashes almost every day so far and it seems that Team Sky is involved in most of them, losing a strong mountain man in the form of Kanstantsin Siutsou yesterday when he crashed and broke his left tibia, and today seeing Mark Cavendish and Bernie Eisel hit the deck hard. Yes, the first week of a grand Tour is nervous and yes there will be crashes, but teams with the big money riders must protect their assets. In these big crashes, we don’t hear names from BMC or RadioShack on the casualty list – and certainly not the names of Cadel Evans or Cancellara.

Is there also a bit of disharmony on the Sky bus? Peta Todd, Mark Cavendish’s girlfriend, called the team out in a tweet just after the accident for not protecting Cavendish. And, let’s face it, with a lead-out train like he had with HTC, these sprints wouldn’t be as scrappy and Cavendish would be much more protected. Cavendish may have been saying that he wasn’t riding for the green jersey, that it was all about the yellow, but why has he been contesting the intermediate sprints? With SuperSagan at 147pts and the top of the leader board and Cav in 4th with 86, unless something dramatic happens – like Sagan’s legs fall off – the green jersey is out of his reach. And it seems to be stirring up some discontent. How will this play out throughout the rest of the Tour? We shall see.

VeloVoices will bring you previews of each day’s stage every morning, live coverage of every stage on Twitterreviews in the evening and in-depth analysis after selected stages.

Link: Tour de France official website

Cycling families: The Herrada brothers

Jesus Herrada sandwiched between team mates Alejandro Valverde and Vladimir Karpets at Tour de Suisse 2012 (image courtesy of Movistar)

Jesus Herrada sandwiched between team mates Alejandro Valverde and Vladimir Karpets at Tour de Suisse 2012 (image courtesy of Movistar)

If you were watching the Tour de Suisse  on Wednesday, you’ll have seen Jesus Herrada riding near the front of the peloton, indulging in a spot of face-pulling, as Movistar led home the pack in the final kilometres – preserving the leader’s jersey for Rui Costa on stage 5, 192.7km  from Trimbach t0 Gansingen. At 21, Jesus is the baby of the team, which he joined last year after stellar results in the junior and espoir ranks. He’s a double national junior and U23 time-trial champion.

Meanwhile, his brother Jose – five years older – who finished fourth in last year’s Route du Sud while riding for Caja Rural, competes in this year’s race  in Movistar colours. Yes, the boys have realised a much cherished ambition to ride together on the same team.

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