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“I would really like to go back to the Tour de France and finish it this time. The Tour was just next level. Riders always tell you there is nothing like it then you experience it for yourself and you realise what they have been...

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LOUIS MEINTJES

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21.11.2015 @ 15:24 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Louis Meintjes has swapped MTN-Qhubeka fro Lampre-Merida this offseason, but despite now riding with an Italian team, the South African’s season and objectives have a firmly French feel for 2016.

 

“I would really like to go back to the Tour de France and finish it this time,” he told Cyclingnews. “The Tour de France was just next level. Riders always tell you there is nothing like it then you experience it for yourself and you realise what they have been talking about all this time. It's just something special.”

 

The 23 year old abandoned on stage 17 of his debut Tour this year after falling ill and ending up in hospital. Many were surprised when he left the African team, but he says Lampre-Merida has an atmosphere he thinks he will enjoy and he can learn a lot from the riders and staff.

 

In the last two seasons, Lampre have really stepped up and in 2015, they won 7 Grand Tour stages and also won stages in the Dauphine, Paris-Nice and Tour de Suisse.

 

Despite the Tour, 2015 was massive for Meintjes. He wrapped up Young Rider jerseys early on in the season in Oman and Trentino before taking a stage and the GC at Coppi e Bartali. He then took top fives in stages of the Dauphine and Tour de France. After a short break, he took on the arduous task of a second Grand Tour in one season as he rode the Vuelta. Despite only taking one sage top ten, the youngster finished tenth on GC, a huge result for MTN-Qhubeka.

 

“I guess two Grand Tours in one year was something really great for me to experience and see how far I could push my body,” Meintjes said. “Starting the Tour de France was pretty amazing. There really is nothing like it but the whole Vuelta was a good experience too."

 

“[At the Vuelta] first the plan was to just focus on one or two stages to get a stage result. But after feeling good in the first week and looking at the race book I thought it was a good opportunity to try go for GC. I'm really happy with how my body responded with the workload. Hopefully, that is a good sign for the future.”

 

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