Cameron Meyer’s return to elite track cycling has yielded a three medal haul at the 2017 World Championships in Hong Kong, including gold in the men’s team pursuit with fellow WA talent Sam Welsford.
The duo were part of an Australian quartet that set the third fastest recorded time in history in qualifying, before moving through to the gold medal round where they accounted for New Zealand to defend the rainbow jersey in 3:51.503min.
Australia used six riders over three rounds en route to world championship gold, with Meyer and Welsford joined by Alex Porter and debutant Nick Yallouris in the final.
A delighted Welsford – who also claimed silver at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games – said it was reward for effort for the entire squad.
"It feels pretty incredible,” he claimed. "To go back to back is insane and we executed the plan perfectly, we all did our jobs and it worked out perfectly,” he said.
"We were bloody close to that world record and we executed good rides in all three rides and we're very excited to take the bands again.”
For Cameron Meyer it rubberstamped a triumphant return to track cycling, where he first forged his world-class reputation.
"I'm in a different space to even back when I was winning world titles six or seven years ago,” he said. "I'm confident in my legs and tonight gave me more confidence that I can compete for world titles still,” he added.
"I know I will go in as one of the favourites for the points race and madison, I'm not scared of it, I've been there before and I know I can do it again."
The wisdom of Meyer’s words were evidenced as he claimed an eighth career world title in the points race before pairing with Callum Scotson for silver in the madison on the final day of competition.
His efforts in Hong Kong, have further marked him as one of Australian track cycling’s all-time greats.
A tactical masterclass in the points race saw Meyer earn reward in nine of 16 sprints (36 points), before lapping the field twice for a further 40 points as part of a 76 point total. His nearest rivals, Belgian Kenny de Ketele (silver) and Pole Wojciech Pszczolarski (bronze) both finished on 40 points.
Despite his margin, Meyer said he had to work hard throughout.
"They're never easy, 2012 was the last one and I only won that by one point,” Meyer remarked
"I knew I'd go out there as probably one of the favourites and it was about keeping calm, I've been in this situation before and it was just trying to be confident that I knew in the last half of the race I could be the strongest bike rider.
"And tonight I was, so I'm really happy.
"It planned out the way I said. I had a good chat with Tim (Decker), we discussed the way the track was and I thought the first breakaway that would take a lap would be a group and then the last one would be solo,” Meyer explained.
"I thought it would be the same as Commonwealth Games in 2010 and it was exactly the same - a group in the first bit and who had the strongest legs to take a solo lap.”
After winning two world championship titles in the space of 48 hours, there was still more in the tank for Meyer, who added a third medal – this time silver in the madison – to cap a brilliant World Championship campaign.
The pace was on right from the gun, with the Australian team and the French pairing of Morgan Kneisky and Saturday’s omnium world champion Benjamin Thomas setting an early and cracking tempo.
Australia took the lead after 50 laps, however France remained close, with the two teams only three points apart at the 100 lap, halfway mark.
With the craftiness of 2010 and 2011 world champion Meyer and vivacity of Scotson, Australia established a narrow lead as the race started to explode with 50 laps til the finish.
With the field scattered across the Hong Kong Velodrome, France pounced in the closing stages, to score in six consecutive intermediate sprints.
Australia battled right to the final lap and grabbed points in three sprints, but it just wasn’t to be, as the French rode away with the crown on 45 points, four ahead of Australia (41pts), with Belgium claiming bronze (32pts).
"We didn’t quite know how the new format would go at this level, sprinting every ten is one of the hardest things I have done,” said Meyer.
"I am so happy to stand on the podium. That is one of the hardest events, it is gruelling, it requires everything.
"We weren’t far off gold. To win a silver with Callum just caps off a great week.”
Australia finished the five-day Championships with eleven medals - three gold, five silver and three bronze won across seven events.
- with CyclingAus (Photo: Casey Gibson/CyclingAus)