Louis Meintjes has emerged as a new star for MTN-Qhubeka this season. The 22-year-old South African has proven himself to be amongst the best climbers in the peloton, taking second on the difficult fifth stage of the Giro del Trentino, where he finished fifth overall. He now has his eye on taking his first pro win in Europe and riding the Vuelta a España.
He surprised even himself with his fifth-place finish overall, up amongst the top names. “I honestly did not expect to be so close to them,” he told biciciclismo.com. “And indeed it is a result that has given me a lot of confidence for the future.”
On the race's penultimate stage, he put in a solo attack with only five km to go on the difficult mountaintop finish, “and when I was three kilometres from the finish, yes, I started thinking I could win. So when Landa caught and passed me, I was very disappointed. But now, a few days later, that disappointment has already become motivation. I really want to fight to get my first win as a professional in Europe.”
His next races include the Bayern Rundfahrt and the Tour de Suisse, and he has been pre-selected for the Vuelta a España, the grand tour debut for the African Professional Continental team. It would of course also be his first three-week race, “the most important thing will be to wait and see how I am. But I feel confident and I think I can do well. For our team it is incredible. This is a great opportunity for us and a great opportunity to show what Africa can do in major competitions on the global calendar.”
From the Vuelta, he hopes it is only a short step to the Tour de France. “That's the dream for me and the team. Seeing an African team in the Tour would be something even more special.”