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"It was very hard for me, it was very hard for our coaches, it was very hard for our directors. It was very hard."

Photo: A.S.O.

LOUIS MEINTJES

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24.10.2015 @ 17:00 Posted by Renaud Breban

A few weeks ago, Louis Meintjes announced that he will leave MTN-Qhubeka team at the end of this year. The news was a surprise for all of the team and especially team principal Douglas Ryder. He was ready to extend the contract and strenghten the team to be ready to upgrade to the WorldTour level.

 

"It is like a gaping wound that I can’t seal thus far. It was very hard for me," he told CyclingTips. "It was very hard for me, it was very hard for our coaches, it was very hard for our directors. It was very hard. We didn’t even see it coming – we had a commitment at the Tour de France that he would stay with the team. It was tough, it was very tough for us."

 

The 23-year-old rider raced with Lotto-Soudal U23 team in 2012 and won the U23 national Championships. He finished 5th overall in the Sea Otter Classic and 6th in the Tour des Pays de Savoie. With MTN-Qhubeka, he won both U23 titles at home. He won a stage and the overall in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali in 2015. His best result is a 10th overall place in the Vuelta a Espana.

 

"We have accepted it and moved on, but we build this team for guys like him. We had him for three years in our team and now, at the time when he is about to do his best work, he goes to another team", Ryder added. "It was a three year investment of putting the whole structure in place so he can exist in Europe, with all the challenges of bringing a South African into Europe and creating a life for them, and now we lose him. It’s why getting a transfer fee for building someone up to a point to where a WorldTour team can just take them should be implemented."

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