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"We worked well for another 20km and they also started playing around, saying I was too high up on GC. I ended up doing 20km on my own, just sitting on the front. I didn’t get much help from the other guys, which is a shame becau...

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LOUIS MEINTJES

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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TOUR DE LANGKAWI

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03.03.2014 @ 11:41 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

U23 World silver medallist and South African road race champion Louis Meintjes again showed that he is a man for the future when he almost single-handedly held off the mighty sprint teams in today's 5th stage of the Tour de Langkawi. With his fellow escapees refusing to cooperate, it was left to the South African to do the work and he was rewarded with a top 10 on GC.

 

South African road champion, Louis Meintjes, finished 3rd during stage 5 of Le Tour de Langkawi earlier today. The young Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rider formed part of a three man breakaway that included eventual stage winner Bradley White (United HealthCare) as well as 2ndplaced finisher Thomas Rabou (OCBC Singapore).

 

The break of the day went clear after 10km of racing and initially consisted of 6 riders. Due to a lack of cooperation the break started to attack each other with the 3 committed riders eventually going clear with 100km to go.

 

Directeur Sportif, Kevin Campbell, explains how the team tactics worked out perfectly for the team today.

 

“We thought there might be an outside chance of a break staying clear today as there were 2 cat 3 climbs in the run in to the finish. With all eyes on Merhawi we thought we would try and get Louis into the right move, and he showed great awareness and instinct to jump across to the leaders when he did.

 

“Many other teams were unsure of how to react once the break established itself, but our plan was to drive any suitable break to shake up the race. The sprinter’s teams hesitated and when they finally decided to try go for a win it was too late,” said Campbell.

 

With Meintjes hoping to put some time into his GC rivals, he drove the break really hard in the final km’s ensuring they would stay away. This obviously affected his chances for the stage win but by climbing up to 10th on GC it was mission accomplished. Youcef Reguigui showed his sprinting legs were still firing on all cylinders as he was 5th in the bunch sprint to take 8th on the stage.

 

With Meintjes being a GC threat, he was left to do most of the work himself and he was left wondering what might have been if his companions had been more cooperative.

 

“I think if it was well organised I could have moved up into first position. I’m very disappointed, but it was a good day,” he told Cyclingnews, as he waited to go onto the podium. “Unfortunately the Italians didn’t want to work with me, because I was too high on the GC and we attacked. A few things happened and we formed a new group of three.

 

"We worked well for another 20km and they also started playing around, saying I was too high up on GC. I ended up doing 20km on my own, just sitting on the front. I didn’t get much help from the other guys, which is a shame because we ended up staying away.”

 

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung now have 3 riders in the top 10 on the General Classification and were also able to extend its lead in the teams’ classification during today’s stage. With still 5 stages to go and Merhawi Kudus only 8 seconds behind the yellow jersey, it will be an exciting 5 days of racing coming up.

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