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"The team was really amazing in protecting Jacques and myself though. On the climb, I just did what I could and that was it really. I am happy that I will be able to wear the white jersey tomorrow on my birthday."

Photo: MTN Qhubeka

LOUIS MEINTJES

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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TOUR OF OMAN

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20.02.2015 @ 19:18 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Queen stage of the Tour of Oman saw a great battle on Green Mountain with Rafael Valls (Lampre – Merida) taking an impressive win ahead of Tejay van Gaarderen (BMC Racing) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Louis Meintjes both impressed for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung on the 4th Tour of Oman stage as they were prominent figures in the favourites group that duelled it out up the final climb.

The early 2 rider escape that had a lead of over 14 minutes today was reeled in at the foot of Green Mountain. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung hit the base of the climb right at the front as they looked to van Rensburg Jacques and Meintjes to good positions before the fireworks began.

The fast pace set on the early part of the climb ensured it was only the pre-race favourites who would be in contention for the last 6kms of the stage. The first real punch was handed out by Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) as he attacked the initial select group of riders. He was soon brought back though and then van Rensburg gave it a go.

The South African champion put in a telling attack that forced van Gaarderen and Valverde to both chase his wheel with Valls, Majka, Meintjes and a few others eventually coming across as well. Eventually it was Valls who danced clear of the rest to take the stage win.

Van Rensburg and Meintjes would cross the line in 7th and 8th respectively. Meintjes' ride was good enough to move him into the races Best Young Rider white jersey. The young South African pair also made a significant move up the GC leader board. Van Rensburg now sits in 5th place with Meintjes right behind in 6th, just over minute behind the leader, Valls.

"It was a really hot day and we also had a pretty strong headwind for most of the day which made it a really nervous and long day in the saddle," Meintjes said. "The team was really amazing in protecting Jacques and myself though. On the climb, I just did what I could and that was it really. I am happy that I will be able to wear the white jersey tomorrow on my birthday."

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