Challenging day for Aussies at world titles
West Australians Cameron Meyer and Luke Durbridge had a challenging day in the saddle at the UCI Road World Championships in the Netherlands to finish 16th and 21st respectively in the elite men's time trial.
The gold medal went to 27-year-old defending champion Tony Martin from Germany who clocked 58:38.76 for the 46 kilometre course from Heerlen to Valkenburg. He narrowly held off a strong challenge from American young gun Taylor Phinney, 22, who was five seconds slower in second place. The top two were amongst the last few off the start ramp while the bronze medal went to Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus who was seeded midway down the field. His time of 1:00:23.75 was one minute 45 seconds slower than that of Martin.
Both Australians were making their world championship debut in the elite event. The last outing at the road world championships for 24 year old Meyer was in 2008 when he claimed bronze in the under 23 time trial in Italy.
"I would have liked to go top ten," said Meyer who left Heerlen a short time after a downpour of rain. "When it started raining at the start I wasn't too keen on that. It's not my forte to go in the wet and also it's just different conditions for guys that went off earlier than guys who went in the middle and guys who go at the end.
"Unfortunately I started in the wet (although it) got little bit drier towards the end.
"It really is a tough course," he explained. "You didn't see any 49 - 50 kilometre averages, the winners like Tony Martin were only in the 46's and a lot of us down in the 44 kilometre an hour averages which is quite slow for an elite time trial. So definitely demanding out there, windy, hilly and then the rain made it a little bit slower with the corners so definitely a tough ride."
In light of the varying conditions across the afternoon Meyer says he is satisfied with his ride.
"Sixteenth place not too far outside the top ten and it was a good learning experience doing a one hour time trial," said Meyer. "Hopefully a few more in the future."
Meyer, who has won six world titles on the track since 2009, made the decision in April this year to concentrate on his road career and believes he is making good progress.
"It's been a good year, confidence boosting year," he said. "I've gone for GC (overall victory) in a couple of tours Torino and California, learning how to do that and I've had some Classics like San Sebastian where I was in the final helping Simon Gerrans. So I'm happy with 2012 and I take a lot out of it going into 2013 and hopefully I can continue to step up in the levels."
Meantime Durbridge, 21, says he was hoping for a better result in his first elite distance world title ride. He has been on the podium at road world titles for the past three years but over shorter distances. He won the junior event in Russia in 2009, was second in the under 23 ranks at the 2010 world titles in Geelong and last year collected the rainbow jersey of under 23 world champion in Copenhagen.
"It's been a while since I've gone out there and not been going in a time trial," he said. "(I'm) disappointed and obviously it's not the way you want to finish. I was expecting a lot more of myself (but) that's the way it is. I'll reassess, keep working hard and come back next year."
Durbridge says his radio stopped working early in the ride but doesn't believe that had much impact on the outcome.
"I didn't really know what corners to take fast and not to take fast but it doesn't really matter," he said acknowledging that from the first time check he knew he was having a bad day. "You just try and stay calm and push towards the line but once you're at 15 to 20 kilometres in and you see '30 to go' and you've got nothing left it's not really a good feeling."
But Durbridge says he'll learn from this experience.
"I expect a lot from myself and I'm very hard on myself," he explained. "I criticise little things here and there so I need to look at what I did and my training leading up to this but I think… it's just one of those days to be honest.
I"m not going to dwell on it too much. (I'll) put it behind me as one of those days that you'd be stronger to get through rather than not.
"I know I've come a long way this year and I can keep improving."
Thursday is a rest day for the Championships which will resume on Friday with the junior women's road race. Saturday will feature the under 23 men and elite women's road races and on Sunday the junior men and elite men will compete for world champion's rainbow jerseys.
2012 UCI Road World Championships are being staged in the Limburg region of the Netherlands, from 16 to 23 September 2012.
Australian Results Summary
Cyclones Australian Team
(RR = road race, TT = time trial)
(** selected 18 September as replacement for Michael ROGERS who withdrew due to illness)
Australia has qualified the following places for the Championships: