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"We know Louis and Merhawi are in good form and so we tried to shake things up on the climb. Louis tried an attack in the run in to the finish but there were teams with superior numbers in the lead group."

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GIRO DELL'APPENNINO

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LOUIS MEINTJES

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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25.06.2014 @ 10:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Young African climbers Louis Meintjes and Merhawi Kudus have had an exceptional start to the season and the two MTN-Qhubeka youngsters continue to impress. Yesterday Kudus emerged as one of the strongest climbers in the hilly Giro dell'Appennino while Meintjes made a bold late move that almost foiled the sprinters' plans.

 

The 75th Giro dell Appennino saw Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani CSF) take his 2nd victory of the season after winning a select group sprint ahead of Grega Bole (Vini Fantini Nippo)and Miguel Rubiano (Colombia). Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had Merhawi Kudus mixing it up in the sprint to finish 11th on the stage.

 

Team MTN-Qhubeka had a very active race with both Kudus and Louis Meintjes being rather prominent throughout the days racing. An initial break of 3 riders was reeled in on the Passo della Bocchetta as MTN-Qhubeka and Bardiani lit up the racing with a number of attacks on the 7.8km climb. Going over the top, Kudus had managed to forge open a gap of 20″ along with 3 other riders but the quartet would be caught on the descent by a select group of 20 riders which included Louis Meintjes.

 

The lead group of 20 odd riders had a minutes lead over another 20 odd riders with 43km’s to go. This was a favourable situation for MTN-Qhubeka but a lack of cooperation saw the 20 riders behind, led by a strong contingent of Bardiani riders join with the front runners to make it a 45 rider strong leading group. With the sprinters from Bardiani, Neri Sottoli and Rusvelo all represented in the front group their teams were content to keep things together for the sprint by driving the pace. Meintjes would put in really good attack with 6km to go but unfortunately the South African champion was reeled at the 2km to go signboard, before the eventual group sprint took place.

 

"We only started the race with 6 riders as Daniel [Teklehaimanot] was still feeling the effects of his Swiss crash this morning," Directeur Sportif Kevin Campbell said. "We know Louis and Merhawi are in good form and so we tried to shake things up on the climb. Louis tried an attack in the run in to the finish but there were teams with superior numbers in the lead group. 

 

"I am happy that we are competing despite what has been a long season for many of our riders so far. It shows that we are improving as our experience grows."

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