INTERMARCHÉ
WANTY GOBERT

Tour de France

Heroic stage for Louis Meintjes


The eighteenth stage of the Tour de France, the last one in the Pyrenees, kept all promises with a tough battle between the GC contenders among whom Louis Meintjes, showing panache.

The South-African rider made use of the slopes of the Col d’Aubisque, the first of three categorized climbs, to slip away from the yellow jersey group. Georg Zimmermann and Kobe Goossens followed his example and helped him to build an advantage of two minutes on the peloton on top of the Hors Category climb.

He managed his effort and pursued his effort on his own until the top of the Col de Spandelles, the penultimate climb, where he was accompanied by Geraint Thomas in the chase 30 seconds behind yellow jersey Vingegaard and his nearest contender Tadej Pogacar.

In the downhill Meintjes & Thomas made the junction with the two men and started the final climb towards Hautacam together. With perseverance Meintjes crossed the line of a mythical stage in eleventh position.

Thanks to his performance he is now sixth in the general classification of the Tour de France, 8 seconds behind the fifth place of Nairo Quintana and 27 seconds ahead of Aleksandr Vlasov.

« I saw an opportunity to anticipate on the Col d'Aubisque. And a little after my attack, I was nicely surprised by reinforcement of Georg Zimmermann and Kobe Goossens. Even though the gap with the breakaway was unfortunately too big to bridge, their support was really helpful to build a nice advantage on the favorites before the foot of the Col de Spandelles. When I heard that Vingegaard and Pogacar were rapidly coming closer, I increased my rhythm to reach the top as fast as possible. Thanks to this intense effort, I could start the final climb with the top three of the general classification. On the final climb towards Hautacam I was forced to slow down, which enabled Vlasov to get a little closer to me in the general classification. I'm happy with my current sixth place. But I stay focused and I'm preparing for the next stage which will probably highly contested again, because the sprinters don't want to miss this chance. »

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