In a dramatic turn of events Louis Meintjes has signed a two-year contract with Lampre-Merida starting in 2016. The highly rated South African climber has been part of the MTN-Qhubeka setup since turning professional in 2013.
This season Meintjes won both the African championships road race as well as the best young rider jersey in the Tour of Oman, the 4th stage and overall classification in the Coppi e Bartali and he rode a debut Tour de France in which he finished fifth on stage 12. He had been expected to re-sign with MTN for the next few seasons with the South African squad telling Cyclingnews that a deal was close to being announced.
However Meintjes, who is currently riding the Vuelta a Espana, will ride in Lampre colours next season.
"I'm really excited to be taking this step up to the WorldTour level with team Lampre-Merida for the next two seasons," Meintjes said in statement that was first sent to Cyclingnews this morning.
"I think it will bring with it lots of new opportunities and the possibility to learn from a very experienced team. One of the reasons I decided on going to an Italian based team is because Italy has become my home away from home."
"Motivation is super high and can't wait for 2016, also for trying to give satisfactions to Lampre-Merida, to the team manager Brent Copeland and to Giuseppe Saronni, to Galbusera family from Lampre company and to Merida company: they demonstrated high confidence in my qualities.
Lampre have been one of the most active teams in the transfer market this season and have looked to sign young and promising talent to add to their ranks.