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by Matt de Neef
February 8, 2015
ARTHURS SEAT, Australia (CT) – Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) has successfully defended his overall lead in the 2015 Jayco Herald Sun Tour, finishing second on the hill-top finish to Arthurs Seat on the final day of the race.
Patrick Bevin (Avanti) won the stage ahead of Meyer and his teammate Simon Clarke, the winner of last year’s race. The result sees Bevin finish second overall, 11 seconds behind Meyer and eight seconds ahead of Joe Cooper, Bevin’s teammate and fellow New Zealander.
Earlier in the day a 13-rider escape group got clear of the peloton as the race took in a nearly 90km loop around the Mornington Peninsula. None of the 13 riders in the break were a threat to the general classification but Cameron Bayly (Search2retain) would use his participation in the escape group to take control of the KOM classification.
The leaders’ gap peaked at 1:50 but with Avanti chasing hard in the peloton for Cooper and Bevin the escapees were never likely to survive to the end. Three riders broke clear of the lead group on the first of three ascents of Arthurs Seat — Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare), Cameron Bayly and Richard Handley (JLT-Condor) — and they were joined on the first of two smaller laps by a second group of three: Will Clarke, Sam Spokes (both Drapac) and Steele von Hoff (KordaMentha-Australia).
The six leaders held a lead that was beyond a minute at one point, but with Avanti still chasing, the gap was down to 27 seconds at the top of Arthurs Seat the second time around. The race was all back together on the approach to the final 3km climb up to Arthurs Seat.
Lachlan Norris (Drapac) attacked solo on the climb and opened a small and ultimately short-lived advantage. Robert Power (U23-Australia) was the next to attack, but he was quickly marked as well.
Only a handful of riders came to the finish with a chance of victory and it was Patrick Bevin that had the strongest kick.
“It was a great feeling to get up that berg the last time and be at the pointy end then have enough to sprint to take out the stage,” Bevin said. “It’s a great victory and it’s the type of finish I’m beginning to really like.”
Cameron Meyer spoke after the stage about the intensity of the race.
“That was nearly a WorldTour bike race. I’ve never experienced something like that at a Herald Sun Tour,” Meyer said. “That was just ridiculously fast.”
“I’m relieved that it’s over and to get second on this hill — that’s a great effort,” Meyer continued. “Hats off to Pat Bevin — jeez he rode a great race and so did Avanti but my boys were really good. I only had to do 200m for the whole race. It was fantastic.”
Meyer took control of the 2015 Jayco Herald Sun Tour on stage 1 when he won into Bendigo ahead of New Zealand national champion Joe Cooper. He defended that lead on stages 2 and 3, both of which were won by his teammate Caleb Ewan.
The overall victory makes Meyer just the third rider to have won the Herald Sun Tour and Santos Tour Down Under double, alongside Stuart O’Grady and Simon Gerrans.
In addition to winning the general classification, Cameron Meyer took out the points classification. Cameron Bayly won the KOM classification, Robert Power won the best young rider classification and Orica-GreenEdge won the teams classification.