What's Cool In Road Cycling

Tour of Korea: Meintjes fifth in final stage, African team wins team ranking

Louis Meintjes finished fifth in the final stage to top off Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s successful Tour of Korea (June 9-16 / UCI 2.2). The first African Professional Continental team was at the head of the race in all eight stages and made an indelible mark on the whole race. Italian Kristian Sbaragli won the opening stage and Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung stood atop the podium last week after the team time trial. The reward for their hard work was the title in the team ranking, many top stage finsihes and three riders in the final top ten.

„This has been a great tour for our team. We’ve had some bad luck at the worst moments, but the team has never stopped trying“, said satisfied sport director Kevin Campbell, who also lead the team to success in Asia at the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia. “Every rider has learnt a lot, and as a team of developing world class riders I am satisfied that we will end this tour a stronger team for this experience.“

Dennis Van Niekerk and Louis Meintjes were the best riders for the African team, finishing sixth and ninth overall. The two South Africans were among the most aggressive riders in South Korea, appearing very often in escape groups and on Friday helped to make the fight for the overall rankings even more exciting. Italian sprinter Sbaragli, who opened the Tour of Korea with his first individual win as a pro and wore the leader’s yellow jersey for one day, was tenth overall.

The overall title went to Briton Michael Cumming, nine seconds ahead of Chinese rider Kinglok Cheung and Spanard Constanino Zaballa Gutierrez (+1.13). Van Niekerk was 1:37 behind Cummings in sixth place after eight stages and 1,077 kilometers. Meintjes and Sbaragali were about three minutes back in ninth and tenth places.

Youngster Louis Meintjes was rewarded for his outstanding race with second place in the young rider ranking. Kristian Sbaragli was also second in the sprint ranking.

Race information: www.tourdekorea.or.kr.

Tour of Korea (Korea) – (June 9 – 16 / UCI 2.2): Louis Meintjes (RSA), Johann Van Zyl (RSA), Bradley Potgieter (RSA), Martin Wesemann (RSA), Dennis Van Niekerk (RSA), Songezo Jim (RSA), Kristian Sbaragli (ITA).

Staff: Kevin Campbell (Directeur Sportif), Yvonne Houweling (Soigneur), Russel Lenhoff (Soigneur), Casper Bester (Mechanic).

Photo: Aaron Lee/Tour de Korea.

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