South African pro rider, Louis Meintjies, took his first win in seven years at an Italian one-day classic on Thursday.
The Giro dell’Appennino classifies as a European semi-classic event, with a history dating back to 1934.
Riding for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, Meintjies made a crucial break for the line, with 4km to go. He managed to cross the line comfortably ahead of Natnael Tesfazion.
Routing 191.7km, the Giro dell’Appennino finish in Genoa was flat. Despite being a specialist climber, Meintjies overcame the stronger sprinters.
Completing the podium was Georg Zimmermann, a fellow Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, capping a good Thursday for the team.
A return to form
Meintjies is one of South Africa’s most successful pro riders, with two top ten Tour de France finishes. He ended eighth in the Tour de France general classification during 2016 and 2017.
The last few seasons have been sparse, in terms of results. But the 30-year old feels reinvigorated by the Giro dell’Appennino win.
"This victory came a little unexpected and that's why it tastes so sweet," Meintjes said after the race. "I made a lot of efforts these last couple of weeks to build my form, for example during a team altitude camp in Andorra."
Meintjies will now travel to the Critérium du Dauphiné, a weeklong race in France, starting on Sunday.