Cape Town - Louis Meintjes was top of the pile for South Africa as the Tour de France ended in Paris on Sunday.
According to the SASCOC website, the UAE Team Emirates rider ended eighth
overall in the general classification, 8:20 behind Sky’s Chris
Froome who won his fourth Tour de France.
Meintjes ended 2:06 behind Orica-Scott’s Simon Yates in the fight for the Young Riders Classification.
‘And thats @LeTour done…Taking a lot of good memories home…And thanks
again for all the support from back home,’ Meintjes tweeted as the Tour
rolled to an end.
In the GC, Meintjes’ fellow Olympian Daryl Impey was next best South
African, ending 47th (2:01:59 down) after an impressive fifth spot in
Saturday’s individual time trial in Marseilles.
Then came Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (118th, +3:30:54) and his Dimension Data for Qhubeka team-mate Jaco Venter (162nd, +4:20:16).
Dimension Data ended 21st of 22 teams, 6:41:25 behind Team Sky.
Afterwards Yates had high praise for his South African rival.
He told Cycling News website: ‘A lot of things have contributed to
this throughout the three weeks. I had a good prologue and it was
actually earlier in the race when I made the most difference.
‘Louis had a great ride and clawed a lot of time back on me but I
managed to hang on,” he said.
‘From the time I joined the team, we knew
this is what we were aiming to do - riding for general classification.
We approached it like any other race, with no pressure and I think
that’s the best way to do it.’
Orica-Scott’s sports director Matt White added: ‘Our Tour de France
campaign has definitely been a success. It’s Simon’s first time
targeting the general classification at the Tour. We knew if we won the
white jersey that it would put us in the top ten in the general
classification because we know the talent of Meintjes.’
Africa’s Dimension Data ended their tour with a podium finish on
Sunday as Edvald Boasson Hagen took third in the sprint, after having
won the 19th stage on Friday.
Summing up their tour, team principal Douglas Ryder said: ’’It was
tough for the team to lose Mark Cavendish but the guys pulled together
and fought hard for every stage we aimed at.
‘We got one big stage victory, six podium places and we made it into
Top 10 no less than 10 times. Today, the team was right on point again.
They helped to bring back the breakaway and afterwards, they worked
together for a result.
‘Edvald (Boasson Hagen) did very well to finish in third place. His
performances in this year’s Tour de France have been incredible. I’m so
happy for him.’