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Meintjes and Rota stay loyal to IWG

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux is happy to announce the extensions of South-African climber Louis Meintjes and Italian puncher Lorenzo Rota. Both riders, who joined the team in 2021, signed a new contract until the end of the 2023 season.

Leader of the team on the Tour de France, Louis Meintjes (29) finished in 14th place in Paris and by doing so, he achieved his best Grand Tour result in four years. Meintjes was always among the strongest in the mountains and finished 9th in the stage towards Quillan thanks to a breakaway initiative. Earlier in the season, the climber achieved a top 20 in the general classification of the UAE Tour, the Tour de Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné on his way to the Tour. He also contributed to the fantastic collective success of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at the Vuelta a España, and only a crash two days before the finish in Santiago de Compostela took him off the road to a top 10 overall finish.

The Lombard Lorenzo Rota (26) emerged on the highest level with the Belgian team this season, particularly in one day races. He excelled in his home country, at the Trofeo Laigueglia (10th), the Giro della Toscana (4th), the Coppa Sabatini (5th), the Tre Valli Varesine (7th) and he even distinguished himself in World Tour stage races by finishing first rider of the team in Tirreno-Adriatico (22nd) and the Tour de Pologne (12th). In August, Lorenzo Rota was among the strongest riders in the Clasica San Sebastian (4th), again only a crash eliminated him for the sprint for the victory. For the first time in his career, the Italian rider discovered the Tour de France and made it to Paris with a 10th place in the stage towards Saint-Gaudens.

« My results speak for themselves. Within Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, I found an environment in which I feel good and perform well. The atmosphere and mentality make me happy. I want to reward the team for the risky bet they've taken by giving me an opportunity after a couple of difficult years, because thanks to them, I managed to get back to my best level. So I'm pleased to extend the adventure for two more years. In addition, the progress made by the team gives me a lot of confidence. Between our first meeting and today, I noticed a lot of incremental changes in terms of organization or equipment, which shows the willingness of the team to keep improving. Race after race, I feel like steps have been made and this motivates me a lot. So I hope that we continue growing together the next seasons! »

« I'm going to each race with the joy of being reunited with the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux family, a team in which I feel good. Extending my contract was a logical step for me. I remember that, when the structure obtained the World Tour license after my recruitment, I wondered whether I could compete at that level straight away. With the help of the team, I exceeded my expectations by far. I progressed each race, especially in the Tour de France which made me grow as a rider. I'm proud of what we have achieved together so far and I'm very motivated to continue our common adventure. I want to thank the sports direction and all staff members who enable the progress of riders and allow them to develop on the highest level. »

« We gave our confidence to Louis Meintjes to battle in the general classification of Grand Tours, knowing that he had a couple of difficult years behind the back but also achieved several top 10 results in the Tour and Vuelta before. In that respect, we offered him a fitting race schedule for him. Thanks to a friendly and quality work environment, he could race freely and reached a very high level again. His performances in 2021 bode well for the next two years, because I'm convinced that more great achievements are possible with him, for example in the Grand Tours. » « Lorenzo Rota, who discovered the highest level with our team, quickly emerged as a leader in the most prestigious races. He's a perfect fit for our offensive race style, he's shown it for example in the Amstel Gold race or Tour de France. He's a rider with a great potential who has already proven that he can compete with the best punchers and that he has fast legs on top of that. We are confident that we will achieve great things together in the upcoming seasons. »

« We are proud that the work of the performance team and the family atmosphere also had a positive effect on Louis Meintjes and Lorenzo Rota. Lorenzo started a journey of discovery in the World Tour, with Louis being confronted to the challenge of reinventing himself. Both succeeded brilliantly. The South-African reached his best level within our structure, both mentally and physically. We thoroughly analyzed his previous seasons and together with Louis we established a new strategy which he executed with much enthusiasm and ambition. His professionalism also helped him to achieve a 14th place in the Tour de France, and we are very proud about it. The crash preventing him from a top 10 in the Vuelta motivates us more to come back next year with renewed ambitions.  I remember the ninth stage of the Tour de France towards Tignes, during which Lorenzo was of great value for Louis, despite his rib injury. The perseverance of the Italian rider was put to a difficult test during the Tour and he managed to find resources to be helpful for the team in spite of his physical condition. He stood out this season thanks to his offensive and intelligent racing. He really grabbed his chance at the highest level and progressed well thanks to an excellent preparation and perfect follow-up. I'm persuaded that he's able to achieve big things, the proof of it is his performance in the Clasica San Sebastian where only a crash prevented him from sprinting for the victory. »


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