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Vuelta a Espana

Meintjes (13th): “I spent everything I had”

This Sunday, before the restday, the stage with the most climbing in this Tour of Spain (2.WT, 14/08-5/09) was on the menu. The ninth stage of 188 kilometer started with a long approach from Puerto Lumbreras to Alto de Cuatro Vientos (10km at 3,6%), which wasn’t sufficient for a breakaway to be formed. This happened on the Alto Collado Venta Luisa (29,2km at 4,3%), around 90 kilometer before the finish line. With the peloton adopting a stable rhythm, the group of eleven riders in the front splintered. Damiano Caruso left his breakaway companions behind with 70 kilometer to go and finished off his solo on top of the Alto de Velefique (13,1km at 7,2%), where the temperature was 30 degrees despite an altitude of 1787 meter. The peloton with red jersey Primoz Roglic, Louis Meintjes and Odd Christian Eiking skimmed throughout the stage. The South African – Norwegian duo from Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert hang on until the last slopes of the final climb. Meintjes finished 1’40 after Primoz Roglic and crossed the line in 13th place. Eiking took 21st place and stays in 19th position in the provisional general classification, with Meintjes starting the restday in 13th place.

It wasn't a bad day, but personally I hoped to finish a little better. As expected, it was a long, hot and very hard day in the saddle. My teammates took care of me during the flat start of the stage and afterwards I had a good support of Odd accompanying me all the way to finial climb. I passed a lot of guys in the general classification, but others got in front of me. I wanted to achieve a better result, but as I won two positions in GC there are definitely some positives. And there are still many opportunities of course. I really spent everything I had today, so I'm looking forward to the restday.

This Tuesday, the riders will again follow the rather flat coastline between coastal cities Roquetas del Mar and Rincon de la Victoria. However, before finishing the 189 kilometer stage, the riders will head inwards to climb the Puerto de Almachar (10,6km at 5%). The top of this climb of second category is situated 17 kilometer before the finish.


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