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Giro dell'Appennino

Louis Meintjes obtains his first victory in seven years

This Thursday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux climbed again on the podium in Genova, on the occasion of the Giro dell’Appennino (1.1). Two weeks after the second place of Lorenzo Rota in the twelfth stage of the Giro, the World Team left the city this time with the victory and third place.

The 83rd edition of the classic, presented a course of 192 kilometer with five categorized climbs through the Lugurian Appenines. The team directed by Valerio Piva and Bart Wellens showed its collective strength from the start of the race, by setting the pace in the peloton and catching the early breakaway of eight riders in the second race half. The seven riders led the bunch until the slopes of Pietralavezzara (6.2km at 7.7%).

It was on this penultimate climb that the peloton explosed, with only twelve riders remaining in the lead on top. Quinten Hermans, Louis Meintjes, Lorenzo Rota and Georg Zimmermann were present in this group and participated, immediately after the descent, in a succession of attacks on the Madonna della Guardia (6.9 km at 7.9%). Thanks to Meintjes and Zimmermann, the Belgian team continued to outnumber the competition in a group of five riders on top of this last climb. 

In the end, eight riders battled for the victory in the final 15 kilometer towards Genova. After a first attempt of Georg Zimmermann, Meintjes attacked and managed to create a decisive gap. Thanks to the support of the German rider in the chasing group, the South-African climber began the final kilometer with an advantage of more than 1 minute on his chasers.

At the end of a solo of more than 8 kilometer, Meintjes lifted his arms for the first time since 2015 and offered the team its twelfth victory of the season. Just behind, Georg Zimmermann sprinted to third place, joining his teammate in the podium ceremony.

« It is an unbelievable feeling to be a part of such a strong team! From the start, Kobe Goossens and Simone Petilli controlled the race until I took over on the penultimate climb in order to make the final hard. The course suited Quinten Hermans and Lorenzo Rota really well and our initial goal was to give them the opportunity to start the last flat part towards the centre of Genova in a select group. But in the end, it turned out different, I was in the lead of the race with three other riders. » « I slowed down a little to enable Georg Zimmermann to join us. I still had good legs and his presence would make it easier to slip away. When he made the junction, we both noticed that our competitors hesitated. Georg motivated me to commit 100% and that's how I rode solo towards my first victory in seven years! This victory came a little unexpected and that's why it tastes so sweet! » « I made a lot of efforts these last couple of weeks to build my form, for example during a team altitude camp in Andorra. It pleased me to see how motivated everyone was to work hard. I was rewarded with nice results this week and I hope that my current condition will bring me more nice moments. I'm traveling to the Critérium du Dauphiné with a reinforced confidence! »

« Two weeks after the magnificent performance of Lorenzo Rota, we came back to Genova and this time we won! Individually, our riders were very strong today. Not less than four riders followed the first group on top of Pietralavezzara. The race development was perfect for us, until Rota crashed a second time in the downhill and fell into the ravine with five others, because of oil on the road. Luckily, he only sustained abrasions. From the team car Rota could follow the the fantastic victory of Meintjes, who perfectly executed our strategy by making a selection on the final climb. It was incredible to see how our South-African climber managed the flat final, with the support of a strong Zimmermann! »

General Classification


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