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Garmin’s Travis Meyer on track to a road career

Meyer sported the standard Garmin-Transitions road kit during a break from the track for the 105-minute criterium at OCBC Cycle Singapore in March. Photo: Brian Holcombe

Travis Meyer’s first month as a professional included a win that many of his countrymen chase for their entire careers — the Australian road race championship. The Garmin-Transitions neo-pro, younger brother to teammate and Aussie time trial champion Cameron Meyer, has yet to debut the green and gold national champion’s kit, as he has focused on his track program since the championships.

Meyer will join his team in Girona later this month following the UCI World Track Championships in Copenhagen, where he will bid to win the team pursuit title. VeloNews caught up with Meyer on an oppressively hot day in Singapore in early March.

VeloNews: Tell our readers about Travis Meyer on the bike.

Travis Meyer: I’m a track and road rider. I started off on the track at eleven years old. I’ve always done both and I started off doing road and track nationals as a junior and I’ve continued doing that because I wouldn’t mind making the London Olympics. That’s a big goal for me.

I more specialize in the time trial on the road and the individual and team pursuits on the track, but I do everything on the track for a bit of fun as well. I wouldn’t say I’m a sprinter, I’m a bit of an all-rounder, I guess I would say. I do the Madison with my brother Cam quite a bit.

VN: You came up through the Institute for Sport program?

TM: Yeah.

VN: How’s life at Garmin?

TM: It’s good. Unfortunately I haven’t had much time with them yet because I’m doing my track commitments at the moment. I missed Tour Down Under with them, which was disappointing, but I’ve had a bit to do with Whitey (director Matt White) now, and he’s a really good guy. I get a pretty good vibe from the team; I haven’t been with them much, but I’m looking forward to the season.

VN: When do your track commitments end and you make the transition to road?

TM: Track commitments end straight after worlds in Copenhagen, which are from the 24th to the 28th of March. Then straight after that I’ll head over to Girona, where I’m going to be living with Cam.

Tour of Romandie at the end of April is my first tour and from then on it will be road.

VN: A good, solid month-long training block before Romandie?

TM: Yeah, which is good because with the track the way it goes now, you don’t have to do a lot of road kilometers and that sort of thing — it’s more about power and speed. I haven’t done a lot of road miles at the moment and I’ll need that month to get ready for the road racing.

VN: Not many brothers have the opportunity to ride professionally with their sibling. What does this opportunity mean to you?

TM: It’s pretty huge because we started off racing at exactly the same time when we were younger and we’ve progressed through exactly the same. We’ve gone through from juniors to the Institute for Sport, and from there to Garmin. It’s really good that we’re both on the same team for our first couple of years in the pros. I’m really looking forward to it. Cam and me get along really well, race really well together, so yeah, I’m really looking forward to it.

VN: Has there been a difficult side of that in the past — the sibling rivalry?

TM: It hasn’t seemed to be a problem, spending too much time together. We get along as best friends, basically.

VN: Looking at your calendar, are you going to be on the same stops very often this year?

TM: No, not really, which is really disappointing. I reckon we’re going to do maybe one tour because he’s stepped up a fair bit straight away. He’s planned to do the Giro (d’Italia) again and (Tour de) Suisse as well, so he’s got a few of the bigger races.

I’m more starting off slower with the smaller races, so I don’t think we really do any tours until maybe August together, which is a bit of a shame, but what can you do, it’s all right.

VN: Cam and you split the Australian road titles this year. I can’t think of anywhere internationally where that has happened in recent memory. How does that feel?

TM: It’s still taking a while to sink in, really. It was really kind of expected that Cam would win the time trial; he went in as the hot favorite and didn’t disappoint, obviously. I went into the road nationals just purely to help the other guys. I got into the break and did my job and it all panned out and I happened to win.

It was very good for our family — for me and Cam — they kind of said the Meyer brothers stole the show that weekend. I think when I get to Europe and start racing in the Aussie colors, it’s really going to sink in. It’s pretty unbelievable.

VN: You guys will have a green and gold road kit and speed suit in the apartment in Girona.

TM: Yeah, like we said to each other, we can’t get the kits mixed up. All the skinsuits in green and gold will be Cameron’s and in the road kit, I’ll have the green and gold. We won’t need name tags or anything.

VN: You’ve worn the Aussie colors in the past on the track, but now you’ll be wearing them nearly daily on the road. What does that mean to you?

TM: It’s massive to be known as Australian champion, for Cam in the time trial and for me in the road race. I think it’ll really sink in when I have my first race in the kit. It’s a bit of a responsibility, I guess. I’m representing the Australian champion and everyone looks to me — especially when I think about guys like Stuart O’Grady and Robbie McEwen that have worn it before — it definitely means a lot.

VN: Particularly at this point in your career.

TM: Oh yeah. I mean, it’s my first year pro. I thought that if one day I could win the Australian road championship or time trial championship, it would be a bonus. Just at some point in my career. For it to happen in my first year as a pro is absolutely unbelievable.

VN: What are your targets going into the season? What is your schedule at this point?

TM: I start off with the Tour of Romandie. Then Bayern Rundfhardt in Germany, Delta Tour, and I have a couple of one-dayers in Italy as well. That’s all I know at the moment. I think they’re going to see how I go for the first half and that will determine what I do for the rest of the season.

My goal is really just to do as well as I can — to do a good team job. I’d be happy if I can help the team and am not just hanging on, getting hooped ever day in a tour. As long as the team is happy with how I perform and if I can help anybody in the team in any way get a result, that will be a success.

If I can get one result for the year, I would be happy. At track worlds, I can hopefully break into the teams pursuit and win a world title there, and at the Commonwealth Games at the end of the year as well.

My ambition one day is to be a leader. I’m going to get stronger by being a worker and time will take its course and eventually, hopefully, I’ll start winning races.

VN: What are your ambitions on the track?

TM: In the end of the day, you can’t do track forever. It’s quite hard to put 100 percent focus into the track when you have a road career as well. London is a big goal for me, but I need to see how it progresses. In Australia, there are a lot of young guys putting 100 percent focus into the track and so I need to see whether I just do the road 100 percent if it doesn’t look like I’m going to make the track team.

London would be fantastic; whether it happens, I don’t know. There will be a time when I have to give up the track. When that is, I don’t know.

VN: There is a big Aussie presence in the Garmin program now. How has that made the program attractive to you?

TM: There are five of us now. It is a big attraction because it makes the transition a bit easier for us young guys going into a new team. Having Matt White as a director is fantastic for us as well. The more Aussies the better, in my opinion. We’ve got a good group of guys, but it’s not just the Aussies. We’re mainly from English speaking countries and that’s a big attraction because is make the transition easier.

Chris White at Fly V Australia is building what he hopes will be the first Australian team to ride the Tour. How attractive is a national-based program, like Team Sky, to you?

TM: I think that if one day we could get an Aussie ProTour team, it would be fantastic. I think a lot of Aussies would jump at it, myself included. I think it could still be a while off, but if it happens, yeah, there’s a big appeal to move over like all the British riders did with Team Sky. I have my fingers crossed that one day it will happen.

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