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Giro di Sicilia

A 2nd place on top of the Etna offers Louis Meintjes a 3rd place in GC

Three years after the stage victory of Guillaume Martin on top of the Etna, Louis Meintjes again made the colors of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux shine by finishing second in the queen stage of the Tour of Sicily (2.1) behind Damiano Caruso.

The battle between the GC contenders began from the start in Ragalna. The peloton rode at a high pace and made among others a breakaway attempt of Simone Petilli undone. Finally, nine riders escaped and covered the first passage on Contrada Giuliana (10.9km at 4.9%) with an advantage of more than 3 minutes.

This same climb then brought the riders to the foot of the Etna (17.7 km at 5.5%). Petilli and Georg Zimmermann accompanied Louis Meintjes until the foot, after which he played a main role in a group of five riders with ten kilometer to go. Even though he was distanced by three competitors under the red flag, Meintjes crossed the line in second position thanks to a perfectly timed finish. In this way, he finishes third of the Tour of Sicily and takes his first podium in a stage race since 2015 and his victory in the Semana Coppi e Bartali. His teammate Zimmermann finished nineteenth in the stage and seventeenth in GC.

It is on a course like this, along with good weather conditions, that I can get the best out of me. It was a perfect stage for me and even though certain favorites raced aggressively in the beginning of the stage, I stayed calm until the final climb where I believed the decision would be made. I already trained in this region before so I knew what was coming. It was like a survival of the fittest until we were only a handful of riders left in the final kilometers. I wasn't able to react to all accelerations but I felt that I still had something left when the others started to explode. So I finished second behind the strongest rider of the day. After a slow start of the season because of physical problems, I hope that this performance brings me in a good flow. With a hard Tour of Catalunya and this Tour of Sicily in the legs, I feel like I'm well prepared for the Tour de Romandie


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