Louis Meintjes has re-signed for Dimension Data, returning to the team he left two years ago. The South African, who has finished eighth in the last two editions of the Tour de France, left for Lampre-Merida in 2016 with the team morphing into UAE Emirates at the start of 2017. Cyclingnews reported earlier this month that Meintjes had re-signed with Dimension Data for 2018 and that the agreement was struck during this year's Tour de France.
"I am super excited to be coming back home to an African team, and to work with the Qhubeka charity once again. My choice to come home was easy, as Team Dimension Data stands out from other professional teams," Meintjes said in a press release.
"They don't only ride to win, but also for a more important cause – to mobilise people on bicycles in Africa. In the past two years, I've gained tremendous experience from a European team, and I aim to use that experience to contribute to the success of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. African cycling has stepped up to a world class level over the last 5 years."
Meintjes came through the ranks at MTN-Qhubeka in 2013 and finished a creditable 10th in the 2015 Vuelta a Espana. Since then the 25-year-old has forged a career as consistent stage race rider. In 2016, he followed Brent Copeland to Lampre-Merida on a two year deal. Copeland had been part of the MTN set-up but attracted Meintjes to the Italian team on the expectations that he would improve as a rider.
Copeland left Lampre the following season, setting up the Bahrain Merida team. He tried to bring Meintjes with him but the rider was locked into a contract with Lampre's paying agent – who owned the WorldTour licence.
Although Meintjes has enjoyed another consistent season this year he was heavily linked to Dimension Data and Bahrain, with both teams making offers for his services. In the end Dimension Data won out.
"Louis was a part of our initial journey and we are delighted to have him re-join our team as we embark on the next part of the team's dream. Our aim is to podium at a grand tour and to go beyond the magic number of 100,000 bicycles distributed through the Qhubeka charity to people in communities," Doug Ryder said in a press release.
"This team has realised the dreams of many riders and children in communities through sheer dedication, commitment and purpose and we look forward to continuing this success and strategy. We believe that Louis has the potential to stand on the top step of the podium in the World Tour stage races taking African cycling development to new heights."
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