Meintjes was sitting in the wheel of Daniel Moreno with two kilometres to go after the Katusha rider put in a dig, although he was eventually distanced on the final climb into Ans and was beaten to 10th by Moreno when the pair came to the line together. “A top 10 would have been nice but I’m obviously very happy to be in the front group of a race like Liège,” Meintjes said after the race. “I was thinking if I am there and I am on the wheels I didn’t want to get stuck behind someone else and I thought I’d go to the front and follow the action.
“I really like this race and I am happy I got a good result. You ride with the favourites and you think this is the stuff I was watching on TV not so long ago. It goes through your mind for a split second but most of the time you have to think of the race and what to do.”
It’s Meintjes’ second appearance at the Monument, after making his debut last season. On that occasion he trailed home over three minutes after the winner, whereas he was just 10 seconds down this time around. La Doyenne had left a lasting impression on the young rider.
“I did it last year and I really liked the course and the type of race it was, and I decided to really give it a go this year,” he said. “Giro del Trentino and Liège were always on my program as goal races and I am very happy with what we’ve achieved as a team now.”
Meintjes is one of the most promising prospects in African cycling and he has had a strong 2015 so far. He took the African Continental Championship in early February and went onto take the young rider classification at the Tour of Oman.
He secured his first European win at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, with a stage win on the final day setting him up for the overall classification. Meintjes rode the Giro del Trentino before travelling to Belgium, adding another best young rider’s jersey to his collection.