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Giro Notebook, Stage 16: Stetina vows comeback; Meier hanging tough; snow for Stelvio

Meier enjoying ride with Orica

Christian Meier is making the most of this second grand tour ride.

The Canadian rode the 2009 Vuelta a España, but pulled out early to attend the funeral of his brother. With five hard stages still to go, his goal is to make it to Milan.

“The goal is to get to Milan. I crashed in stage 8. I went down hard; it was not a very nice crash. I had to get a few stitches in my knee. It’s not so bad now. It’s not in a flex point, so it hasn’t hurt me so much,” Meier told VeloNews. “It’s strange to be in a race and have stitches put in and taken out.”

The Canadian has been part of Orica-GreenEdge’s train that helped catapult Matt Goss to victory in stage 3.

“My job is to control the breakaways. That’s mostly riding at the front, from a long ways out. It’s always a role that I’ve enjoyed. The longer miles are better for me,” he said. “If there is a day when I haven’t had to do so much, at the end I try to help with 10km to 5km to go, to keep the guys at the front and keep them out of the wind. Then we still have four or five guys who are lead-out guys.”

Meier joined Orica along with compatriot Svein Tuft after he raced the 2011 season with UnitedHealthcare. Meier, who rode three seasons in Europe with Garmin, said he’s glad to be back on a major team.

“The team is fantastic. It’s one of the best teams in the world and it’s fantastic to be a part of,” he said. “Our Giro so far has been fantastic. We’ve had some good success with Gossie, Vaitkus and Impey. Our goals were in the first half of the Giro, in the flat stages. We’ve been working hard and I think it’s starting to catch up with us,” he said. “We hope to rebound for the final week and finish off the Giro.”

Despite the difficulty, Meier says his experience so far through the Giro has been memorable. That might change in the coming days, as he and everyone else will be struggling to survive the grueling topography of the Dolomites.

“I really enjoy it. The Giro has been spectacular so far. I’ve really enjoyed it. The courses, the towns, the crowds, have been unbelievable,” he said. “We focused all of our efforts in the first two weeks. That was always our plan. We have no GC rider. We really pushed it in those weeks. We have a few big days ahead. Hopefully we can get through it and we have a few guys to give it a good crack in the final time trial.”

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