• Cameron Meyer celebrates his win (Con Chronis/Zac Williams)Source: Con Chronis/Zac Williams
Relief, the strains of effort and euphoria were written all over Cameron Meyer’s face after he clinched the maiden elite national road race title that he has been chasing for 12 years.
Jamie Finch-Penninger

13 Jan 2020 - 9:40 AM  UPDATED 13 Jan 2020 - 9:41 AM

Flash back to January 2019 and a destroyed Meyer was battling to keep tears from his face, struggling to reconcile how close he had come to a huge goal of winning the road race in Buninyong.

But it was a very different story yesterday, as he rode a high of emotion from the solo victory.

“It means so much to me,” Meyer said.

“I had seen my brother (Travis) win it and I fell in love with this race. 12 years ago, I was fourth in my first elite title around here … it’s a surreal moment.

“This is the queen jersey, it’s what everyone comes here to do. Conquer Mount Buninyong and take the road race jersey. I’ve had the time trial jersey twice and the criterium, but this is the one I really wanted.

“Everyone asks me all my stories over the 12 years and now I can tell them that this is the best of the lot.”

While convincingly winning, with a big gap coming into the line, Meyer revealed he was nearly overcome with emotion as he pedaled the final few kilometres. 

“There was a lot flashing through my head,” he said.

“I hope I don’t get caught, or something happens like last year. It means so much to me, there’s a lot of emotion and history in this day for me and I’m going to have a few sleepless nights playing this one in my head over and over.”

Mitchelton-Scott forced an elite selection late in the race, with the cream of the crop joining the front of the race to battle it out for the title.

Meyer spoke to those final few laps of the circuit and what was going through his head.

“I thought ‘phwoah, this an Australian title’,” Meyer said.

“There was a lot of World Tour guys and firepower out there. Jay McCarthy, fantastic bike rider, Nathan Haas, Chris Harper… it was a real World Tour field out there. I was nervous, I think we all were. You could one mistake and with the quality of the riders out there you’d pay for those mistakes.”

“We have eight strong riders and we’d be silly if we didn’t use the strength that we do have. We had a plan with a few of our leaders, Luke Durbridge, Lucas Hamilton, guys who we knew were going to go deep into today’s race.

“There’s a lot of pressure that comes with that, people think it’s easy because we come here with eight World Tour riders but there’s responsibility that comes with that and today the guys played it perfectly.

“Fortunately, it was my opportunity there on that last lap and I had to take it.”

Meyer is now a veteran of Australian cycling, a rider who seen it all and raced most of the races that you can on the track or the road.

One of the biggest bumps along the way was his separation from Dimension Data back in 2016.

Coming back to Mitchelton-Scott and the track program in 2017 seems to have set Meyer back where he belongs.

“I can’t thank Mitchelton-Scott enough,” he said.

“They’ve backed me for the last three years to bring me back on board. They put me in a leadership role here and had great faith in me. I had a great team out there - they had all the bases covered.”

As the years tick over, the vast experience Meyer brings has become ever more important, and as much as the wins he delivers, he feels that is as significant a contribution.

“I’ve been around a little bit now,” Meyer said.

“I was the oldest today in the team. I enjoy that, being able to get into team meetings and use my experience to help a guy that might be riding their first elite title or one of their first times around Mt Buninyong and trying to get that experience across. I really enjoy that.

“I still love the opportunity for my own chances and today I had to take that. Next week (at the Tour Down Under), I’ll be working for Daryl Impey and we’ll have a big rider in Simon Yates as well - I love that support role as well.”

While Tokyo 2020 beckons, and the opportunity to show that Meyer deserves to be recognised among the best in the world, for certain the West Australian will count this victory as one of his finest.