"My brother (Travis) said when we were looking at all the photos in the Hilton of the past winners, with Griepel and all that with big muscles, and now there's going to be little scrawny Cameron," said a thrilled Meyer on the finish line. "It is going to look a little bit different."
The 23 year old Garmin-Cervelo professional clocked an overall winning time of 17:54:27 for the six stages over a total of 762.4kilometres to claim overall victory by a mere two seconds over 25 year old Tasmanian Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad). Goss clawed back six seconds on Meyer in the final stage but it wasn't enough to overtake him.
Briton Ben Swift (Sky Procycling) sprinted home to claim his second stage win of the week, and in doing so scored a ten second bonus which moved him up to third overall, eight seconds behind Meyer.
"It hasn't sunk in quite yet," said Meyer who on the start line today had three riders within striking distance of taking his crown. "To race in front of tens of thousands of people all cheering my name, so many friends and family and supporters out there, was fantastic.
"(Today) our plans were to go out hard and aggressive to put the pressure on HTC-Highroad," said Meyer. "It looks like they had to use their men up quite a lot and maybe Goss didn't quite have the train (at the end).
"I can't thank my team enough, it was fantastic," he said. "It's my first pro win and my first tour win, a great way to start the year for the team."
Meyer was last year named the Australian Cyclist of the Year after he claimed three world and three Commonwealth Games gold medals on the track and won the elite time trial on the road at the Australian Championships. He successfully defended the time trial title earlier this month.
Today 130 world class riders lined up to contest 20 laps of the Adelaide City Council Street Circuit in front of 119,000 supporters who turned upfor the IG Markets Stage 6 to cheer on their heroes and to farewell seven time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong who was riding in his last international cycling race.
From the first pedal stroke Meyer's Garmin-Cervelo team mates went on the attack in a bid to shut down any challenges. That forced HTC-Highroad to the front of the peloton to counter early attacks from Matthew Wilson, Travis Meyer and Brett Lancaster.
They managed to bring it all back together for the first Jayco intermediate sprint on the eighth lap (36.0km) only to see
At the first Skoda King of the Mountain contest over Montefiore Hill on lap ten (42.5km),
The race script hit a speed bump for the second Jayco intermediate sprint at the end of lap twelve when a cat and mouse contest between Goss and Matthews backfired and with both missing out. Matthew's Rabobank teammates Jos Van Emden and Tom Leezer crossed first and second ahead of 2009 champion,
In front of an adoring home town crowd, Stuart O'Grady (Saxo Bank Sungard) led a breakaway of half a dozen riders who contested the second climb with Roberts' team mate Victorian Mitch Docker first over the line. However as the final lap approached the peloton hunted down the escapees to bring the race back together and set up a final dramatic showdown.
In one of the most dramatic finishes in the event's 13 year history, tension was high in the final couple of kilometres as the likes of Greipel and
"I just didn't have the experience that these guys have on the last lap of a big race like this," said Matthews. "Everyone was just pushing me everywhere, but I just didn't quite have the speed or the technique to get to the front.
"Being a little guy trying to sprint, it's a bit hard being pushed around by the big guys. I guess you've got to push them back and see how you go ... I just couldn't quite push them back today."
In the end though everyone was upstaged by a sensational Sky team effort that saw
"It's not just a stage race, it's a race within a race," said 23 year old Swift. "I was struggling really bad half way through after the efforts of Willunga yesterday (but my team) is just perfect, throughout the race they supported me, they made sure I was not on the outside or in the wind all day and Matt Hayman did an awesome job coming into the last corner.
"It really was just unbelievable," added Swift.
Goss was third for a four second bonus but not enough to win the trophy.
"Two seconds off it. But (Mark) Renshaw was doing the perfect job, he has all week, I just went on the opposite side, I didn't want to take the risk of getting shut on the barrier again, it didn't work out unfortunately.
"I guess it's a little bit of a disappointment, but it's also not a bad result, the team rode awesome all week and they completely supported me. I can't thank those guys enough.
"We had a great race, and if it wasn't for a couple of mishaps, maybe it would be different but that's bike riding," said Goss. "It just didn't really work out this year, but I will come back next year, I have a few years left here."
The top four in the Cycle Instead Best Young Rider category (under 26) was a repeat of the general classification with Meyer taking the honours ahead of Goss, Swift and Matthews.
At just 23 years of age, Meyer also becomes the second youngest to win the event behind Michael Rogers who claimed the 2002 Tour when he was 22 years old.
Movistar won the Brilliant Blend teams classification, decided by the cumulative total of the times of the three best individual riders on each team. Vacansoleil-DCM was eight seconds back and AG2R La Mondiale ranked third at 25 seconds.
Goss took the Jayco Sprint category on 28 points ahead of Matthews (20pts) and Belgian Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) who ranked third, also with 20 points.
UniSA-Australia's Roberts was a clear winner in the Skoda King of Mountains classification on 60 points, almost double that of Ben Hermans (Radio Shack) (36pts) and Mitch Docker (UniSA-Australia) on 32 points.
For the third straight year Roberts also claimed the Tanya Denver Award for the highest placed South Australian with his tenth place overall, 28 seconds off Meyer's winning time.