The final stage of the Giro del Trentino came to its conclusion on Friday with Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung having another spectacular day. South African champion, Louis Meintjes, managed to out climb the likes of Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Cadel Evans (BMC) to take 2nd place on the stage. Meintjes would only be beaten by Mikel Landa (Astana) finishing just 10 seconds behind the Spaniard. Franco Pellizotti (Androni-Giocattoli) was 3rd on the stage.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung have had a good week at the Giro del Trentino, showing its colours early in the breakaways of both road stages prior to Friday’s stage. Friday would be no different though as Jacques Janse van Rensburg again followed the right move and got into a 12-rider escape group. They forged out a 3 minute 30 seconds lead before the peloton organised a chase.
Janse van Rensburg and the rest of his breakaway companions would later be caught at the foot of the final 20km out of category climb, but his presence in the break allowed Meintjes to conserve energy for the final climb. As the catch was made, Songezo Jim (MTN-Qhubeka) put in a hard attack to ensure a fast pace would eliminate any weaker riders. This tactic set Meintjes up perfectly as with 10km to go, there were only 14 riders left at the head of the race.
With 5km to go Meintjes attacked the group of favourites with no other riders able to match his pace. Almost instantly, Meintjes had a 10 second lead as he pressed on up the climb alone, leaving a number of grand tour contenders in his wake. With 1km to go, the eventual stage winner, Landa, would make contact with Meintjes but not before the young South African was able to open up a sizable gap to the rest of the race. Landa took the win but Meintjes was able to ride his way to a 5th place overall while also claiming the win in the young riders competition.
Rider - Louis Meintjes: “I am extremely satisfied with my performance today but at the same time I’m a bit disappointed as I was aiming for the win today. I am happy with the improvement in my performance since I did this race last year but the season is still young and I want to continue improving.”
Directeur Sportif - Kevin Campbell: “It was an amazing effort by Louis and the team today. Louis was fearless and he raced for the win. Yes he may have been beaten into 2nd today but today he showed he has what it takes to beat some of the beat in the world.”
Source: Team MTN-Qhubeka press release