European towns with African connections have once again brought out the best results from a South African rider.If we cast our minds back to the performances of Robert Hunter and Daryl Impey and their Tour de France success that they achieved in Montpellier ( City in France with the highest African population) and we now move forward to the huge achievement by young Louis Meintjes who claimed the silver medal at the under 23 Road World Championships in Florence,Italy.
The under 23 race covered 173 km’s which included 7 laps on the finishing circuit in Firenze Mandela Forum, a sports stadium named in honour of former South African president Nelson Mandela,this made the day even more special for the South African team and continued our success at European town’s with an African connection.
Meintjes attacked with 2 laps of the race to go and came very close to catching the eventual winner Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric.It all went according to plan and Meintjes executed his plan like a seasoned professional riding in the wheels knowing that the import move of the day normally comes with about 2 laps to go.What made the result even sweeter was the fact that Meintjes only started with 2 teammates in Johann van Zyl and Christopher Jennings. With less numbers than the other nations, the team had to rely on riding a clever race and this they did with great success.
Meintjes will be making his World Tour debut on when he lines up in Lombardia on the 6 October with his MTN/Qhubeka p/b Samsung team and who knows how long it will be before he can be considered an overall contender in the greatest race of them all, the Tour de France. The young Meintjes is showing he has what it takes.