Meintjes at Paris-Nice: I see Mont Ventoux playing a part in my career in the future
South African looking ahead to Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
We've come out of the race without the results we were hoping for but on the bright side it was another race with the team which meant another opportunity getting to know each other more. The last two stages the race was full on from kilometre 0. I'm sure it made for great viewing on TV and the fans probably loved it. I can tell you, I didn't love it that much as I was suffering.
Just before Contador attacked yesterday, I was fetching bottles for the team and it made it so much harder to get to the front. It was almost impossible to get back to the front. There was hardly an easy time during the race and it was just full on racing all the time.
This was my first Paris-Nice and the course and weather made it a really hard race. The racing was so hard because the main GC guys were very close on time. A lot of the guys came to the race to test themselves and gain confidence for the rest of the season. It's the first big race of the year so guys who have changed teams like me try to use the race to impress their new bosses.
It's hard to tell why we didn't get all the results we were looking for but it's the best riders in the world all really wanting to win. If you don't have good luck or a good day and everything doesn't go according to plan, you won't win the race.
The weather was a new experience for me. The coldest weather I have raced in was 10 degrees Celsius whereas this time round it was zero degrees, wind and rain.
One thing I enjoyed was going up Mont Ventoux. Obviously it came early in the stage so the tempo up the climb was quite easy but it was a good opportunity to see it again as its an iconic race in cycling and I see it playing a part in my career in the future. It's definitely a climb that suits me when the race finishes on top. I like how hard it is and how it has no recovery. The steepness of it doesn't allow you to recover anywhere if you're having a bad day.
It's my fourth year in the peloton now and my friends circle has grown quite a bit. It's great getting to each race and knowing a lot of faces. Cycling is a small world but it's a great community of people, even though we compete against each other as soon as the gun goes off. Obviously I have re-united with a former teammate and Ethiopian champion, Tsgabu Grmay here at Lampre-Merida. He made it into the break three times this week. I'm really happy for him as he is on good form. I think it's not long until he pulls off a big result.
My next race is Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. I'm confident with how I am feeling and the race should be more suited to me and I am expecting to be better. This week will be all about just taking it easy and turning the legs and try to make sure nothing goes wrong because there's not that much you can do between such big races.
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get The Leadout Newsletter
The latest race content, interviews, features, reviews and expert buying guides, direct to your inbox!
Louis Meintjes is a climber from South Africa who joined the Lampre-Merida team for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He spent the last three season with MTN-Qhubeka where he developed into one of the top up-and-coming riders in the world, riding into a top 10 overall at the Vuelta a España in 2015.