The decision by Cameron Meyer to forgo one last hurrah in the team pursuit in London in favour of success on the road, is the right one writes Al Hinds.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:37 PM


It was a very hard decision to make, but ultimately my passion for the team pursuit isn't 100 per cent. I take huge satisfaction from that and now want to see what I can achieve on the road.

The Australia pursuit team's perceived failure at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, where it narrowly lost to rival Great Britain, and Meyer's last gasp win in the points race had many suggesting, punter and pundit alike, that Meyer should be in the team for the Olympic Games.

Anthony Tan wrote on Sunday that Meyer's inclusion was not only "logical, but essential", Tan pointing out that Australia needed the extra experience that a Geraint Thomas had brought to the Brits for their winning ride, and that Meyer had in spades.

And then there was the dominance in Meyer's ability to almost single-handedly take a lap in the points race, when the whole field seemed intent on marking his every twitch. Yes, it was Cancellara-esque the way he rode Ben Swift off his wheel, but does it necessarily translate into a gold medal in an Olympic team pursuit?

Of course we'll never know the exact difference Meyer would've made because he now won't be there, but there are a number of reasons why I think the reactions on Saturday night and Sunday morning were more knee-jerk than logical.

The case of under-23 world time trial champion Luke Durbridge is the most obvious example of why. Durbo is a freak, there's no doubting that. Australian Institute of Sport sports scientist Dave Martin said in an interview with Dave McKenzie on Cycling Central on Friday from Hisense Arena in Melbourne that Durbridge's testing numbers were comparable in their anomalous nature to Tour de France champion Cadel Evans.

"This kid's doing 500-plus watts and picking his nose, barrelling down the road, it's really exciting to see," said Martin.

Durbridge is also a multiple world team pursuit champion, but in February he was given the news that his ability in the team pursuit was no longer up to scratch. Kevin Tabotta explained at the time that because of the way the team pursuit now functioned, the first kilometre, which is now akin to a team sprint, has become critical to going sub-four minutes over the 4km.

Durbo's diesel engine, although among the best in the world at a 20km effort, is now according to Tabotta a liability for the fast start to the pursuit.

In the same way Meyer, whose focus has become more and more road-specific over the past 12 months, suffers from a similar disadvantage. Meyer's statement relates the sentiment in not so many words.

"I haven't been a part of the team (pursuit) in the past 18 months and I don't know if I am up to competing at the level they are now; riding world record times. I knew in myself I hadn't done the workload."

While it's always an attractive option to invite riders of the calibre of Meyer and Durbridge into any Australia team, Tabotta unsurprisingly has a design in mind for his London 2012 team, and the two don't quite fit the bill.

Yes Australia lost in Melbourne, but can we all take a deep breath? Not only was it a tiny margin, 169 thousandths of a second no less, but it's a blip on the radar for an otherwise standout team.

A little more than a month ago we were lauding the ability of Alex Edmondson to successfully sub into the team pursuit squad after a dominant performance in the UCI World Cup meet in London against the same team the Brits fielded in Melbourne, to say nothing of the rise of Glenn O'Shea.

These guys are training 100 per cent for the track, and have been selected from a long list of eight or nine riders vying for the team pursuit final selections in London. They're not half bad. They're bloody good. They're the best.

So while it's always sad to see someone like Meyer move on from the track, it is the right decision. Meyer has a big future on the road, along with Durbridge.

It's about time he stopped the juggling act he's put on admirably for the past few years and embraced the full-time focus on the road, and I wish him well.

Twitter: @al_hinds