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Vuelta a Espana

Meintjes: “My favorite circumstances”

This Friday, the riders were quick off the mark in Gandia for the seventh stage of the Vuelta a Espana (2.WT, 14/08-5/09). The peloton left the Mediterranean coast quickly behind in the direction of the Puerto le Llacuna, the first climb of first category. The battle was on until a group of 29 riders with Simone Petilli representing Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert was formed at the front. There was a moment of relative calm in this 152 kilometer stage before the storm started on the penultimate climb of the day. The consequences of the acceleration on this Puerto de Tibi were especially visible in the leading group. The breakaway exploded and in the end it was the Australian rider Michael Storer who was the best on Balcon de Alicante. Simone Petilli finished 13th, with Louis Meintjes following the best riders in the red jersey group. Thanks to this great performance, the South African moves up to 15th in the general classification. Also Odd Christian Eiking, who was on the side of Meintjes all day, integrates the top 20 of the provisional classification. This Saturday, the honor will be for the sprinters again at the end af a 173,7 kilometer stage between Santa Pola and La Mange Del Mar Menor.

Many climbing meters and high temperatures were on the menu today, circumstances in which I usually feel best! So my good legs were present today during the whole stage. It was a pity that a large group stayed in front, otherwise a good personal result might have been possible. But luckily we had Simone in the front. My performance today in between the best GC riders motivates me a lot for the next mountain stages. I take this Vuelta day by day, tomorrow we'll have to stay out of trouble in a flat stage again

It wasn't easy at all today, because of the heat and the high pace from the start. When I saw a big group going clear, I absolutely wanted to join it. Once I managed to fulfill my wish, I tried to save as much energy as possible in order to be ready to help Louis in the final. But in the end we stayed in the front and I wanted to achieve the best possible result. The competition was high and I was not at my best anymore at the end of this hard stage. But I'll definitely try again in this Vuelta! I began this Grand Tour in a good condition and I feel stronger every day. Our first week was very successful, so we can just continue like this with a good morale.

Our riders concluded this hard stage excellently. Louis finished with the support of Odd in the red jersey group and Simone represented our team in the front. Unfortunately we lost the polkadot jersey, despite Rein's attempts to win mountain points in the beginning of the stage. The Estonian rider didn't feel great today, but I'm convinced that he will grab other opportunities later. Our sprinters spent the day in a big group, so they're ready to play a major role again tomorrow. We continue taking this Vuelta day by day and divide roles. In this way, we continue our chase of victories and a top 10 in the general classification.


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