INTERMARCHÉ
WANTY GOBERT

Vuelta a Espana

Louis Meintjes was forced to abandon due to a crash


With only three days remaining in this Tour of Spain,  the nineteenth stage was unpredictable with its hilly profile in the first race half and a parcours suited for sprinters in the second part. Three climbs of 10 kilometer with an average gradient of 5 per cent were evenly spread in the first 60 kilometer of the stage.

24 riders escaped on the first of the trio, the Alto da Sela d’Entorcisa (10 km at 4.1%). After the two following difficulties, only eighteen riders remained in the front. Several teams rode a strong pace in the peloton in order to get rid of the sprinters, that’s why the gap with the breakaway oscillated around 2 minutes.

When the peloton came closer to the breakaway, Louis Meintjes crashed with 40 kilometer to go. The South African, 10th in the provisional classification, wasn’t able to continue and was forced to abandon. The red jersey group never managed to join the escapees, who battled for the stage win.

The riders under direction of Valerio Piva and Jean-Marc Rossignon reached the finish line together, 18 seconds behind winner Cort. Odd Christian Eiking is now 11th in the general classification, one day ahead of the final peloton race, which is filled with difficulties. The finish line is situated at the end of the climb towards Castro de Herville (9.7 km at 4.9%).

No fractures were identified after the first examinations in the hospital of Lugo. Louis Meintjes will be supervised this night because of his face injuries and short moment of unconsciousness after the crash

Simon Verdonck (Team Doctor) Tweet

 I can't hide my disappointment. We've been really successful in this Vuelta, but after Louis' crash our share of luck is not in balance with the bad luck we had. Both Rein and Odd lost the red jersey after a crash, an now we also loose our GC leader for the same reason.This unexpected event was not part of our expectations at all, because the whole team was focused around our South African. After some hard stages, I warned our riders for a nervous race today. We don't know how the crash happened, but I immediately saw that Louis was unconscious and not able to continue. It's a pity to be punished like this after three weeks of hard work. We'll have to flip the switch and appear at the start with a new motivation tomorrow. I'm convinced that Rein and Jan can show something more! 

Valerio Piva (Sports Director) Tweet

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