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"We'd already agreed terms with his manager and we'd spoken to him. The terms had already been met and a contract had been sent to Robbie Hunter," 

Photo: Sirotti

LOUIS MEINTJES

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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13.09.2015 @ 18:53 Posted by Joseph Doherty

MTN-Qhubeka have spoken of their surprise at Louis Meintjes move from the team to Lampre-Merida, as they believed all that was left to do was for the young South African talent to sign an extension with their team.

 

"We'd already agreed terms with his manager and we'd spoken to him. The terms had already been met and a contract had been sent to Robbie Hunter," team general manager Brian Smith told Cyclingnews. "For some reason there was a very big U-turn from Louis, I don't blame him for that. I don't know who to blame but we'd agreed, the contract had been sent. Maybe the contract hadn't been chased up because we'd become complacent because we thought why would Louis want to leave his team, this is his team."

 

Despite the 23 year old moving on, the team has kept on working for him, ensuring he finishes tenth overall, the teams first ever top ten in a Grand Tour GC.

 

"It's all about raising awareness of Qhubeka and the 5,000 bikes campaign. I told them that I wanted them to support Louis because finishing 10th in the Vuelta is huge. It's not about us, he has a contract until the end of December and he will be supported by the team," Smith explained. "For him to finish top 10 in the Vuelta is huge for MTN-Qhubeka even if he is leaving the team. That's irrelevant."

 

But Smith is confident this wont be the last time his Qhubeka team and Meintjes are paired together, telling the youngster he will return and win the Tour de France for the team one day.

 

"I wished him luck and I hope he goes on to do well. I said to him, 'look, I know that you'll be back in a couple of years and you'll win the Tour de France for us,'" Smith told Cyclingnews. "When everything was agreed and then there was suddenly a U-turn, something must have happened. I don't think the team has done anything wrong. I believe that Louis will still support the team and he'll still support Qhubeka."

 

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