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Tour de France

Louis Meintjes 21st in GC after first test in the mountains

The peloton started this Saturday from Oyonnax, in the department Ain, for the eighth stage of the Tour de France, and the first test in the mountains. The riders had to complete 150 kilometers towards the Alps, with a total of five climbs including the Col de la Colombière (7.5 to 8.4%), whose descent of 15 kilometers led straight to the finish located at the Grand-Bornand resort.

Under pouring rain, the start was given with an early climb of 6 kilometers – not listed – which immediately blew up the peloton. The multiple breakaway attempts quickly skimmed the yellow jersey group, reduced to around 50 men at the top of this climb in the Forêt d’Echallon (6.6%). South African Louis Meintjes was sitting alert alongside the best climbers.

In the first difficulty of the day, the Côte de Copponex (6.7 km at 4.6%), a group of 20 riders created a gap, with Louis Meintjes and 2020 Tour winner Tadej Pogacar (UAE) among them. But it took more than half of the stage for the definitive breakaway to form, with a total of nineteen riders who had a maximum lead of almost 6 minutes over the peloton.

After climbing the Côte de Menthonnex-en-Bornes (2.7 km at 4.6%) and Mont-Saxonnex (6.1 km at 8.1%), Louis Meintjes maintained contact with the best, until the yellow jersey group exploded on the slopes of Col de Romme (8.8 km at 8.9%) under the impetus of team UAE-Emirates. More than 30 kilometers from the finish, outgoing winner Pogacar attacked, which led the remainder of the stage to be contested man against man.

The Belgian Dylan Teuns (Barhain), breakaway survivor, resisted Pogacar’s return to win stage 8. Meintjes took 26th place at Le Grand-Bornand, and climbs to 21st place overall. Tomorrow, the riders will fight again in the mountains, with a finish at the top of the Montée de Tignes (2083 meters).

It was an intensely tiring day, from the start the field split up and it never came back together. I wanted to make the breakaway, which is why I attacked, but the good move came after. This effort cost me energy, and I struggled to keep in touch with the favorites in the Col de Romme. I would have hoped for a better result, but I think everyone in the field, except one man, can say the same. The Tour de France is still long and there are still stages to be exploited, and a lot can still change.


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