Cycling

Meintjes wins Mzansi stage 2

Louis Meintjes (Supplied)
Louis Meintjes (Supplied)

Golden Gate - Team MTN-Qhubeka have continued its dominance on the Mzansi Tour after South Africa's national road champion Louis Meintjes climbed his way to victory in three hours, 46 minutes and eight seconds (3:46:8), on the second stage of the five-day race at the Golden Gate in the Free State on Thursday.

The talented climber outclassed fellow teammates Merhawi Kudus, who was 45 seconds behind, and Daniel Teklehaimanot, who came in third, rounding up the yellow podium.

Jacques Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) retained the yellow jersey after finishing fifth on the stage, opening up a 43 second lead ahead of Meintjes, who creeped into second on the general classification (GC), while Kudus climbed to the third spot.

Janse van Rensburg was also named as the best African rider on the day and took the points jersey, while Meintjes walked away with the best young rider jersey as well as the king of mountain (KOM) jersey.

The 155km stage started in Clarens, went through Bethlehem and Kestell, before ending with a mountain top finish at the Golden Gate national park.

There were a few attacks in the early stages of the race, but they did not amount to much as they were neutralised by the peloton.

A patch of heavy road on the N5 heading to Bethlehem slowed the peloton, bringing the speed down to 30 kilometres per hour.

An hour into the race Willie Smit (Team vini Fantini-Nippo-De Rosa) made a solid attack and was joined by Jayde Julius (Bonitas Pro Team) and Ryan Felgate (South African national team), opening up a 20 second gap ahead of the peloton.

The three briefly maintained their lead before they were brought back.

Another break formed 70km into the race where Hendrick Kruger, Christopher Jennings (Bonitas Pro Team), and Nolan Hoffman (Team Abantu) opened a slight lead ahead of the main group.

The three maintained the lead as the race remained calm while it whizzed through the small town of Kestell, making its way to Golden Gate, where riders faced a 30km uphill battle to the finish. The climbing after the slipway before the R712 took its toll on the three riders who slipped back into the peloton.

A decisive attack by Meintjes, who pedalled ahead towards the last 10km positioned him ahead of the group, giving him a 100m lead.

He successfully maintained the lead to win the stage on day three of the tour.

The Mzansi tour continues on Friday with 201km ride from Bethlehem to Vanderbijlpark.

Results after Thursday's second stage of the Mzansi Tour, a 159km ride from Clarens to Golden Gate, Free State:

Stage 2:
1. Louis Meintjes MTN - Qhubeka 3:46:08
2. Merhawi Kudus MTN - Qhubeka 3:46:53
3. Daniel Teklehaimanot MTN - Qhubeka 3:46:58
4. Hugh Carthy Rapha Condor 3:47:00
5. Jacques Janse van Rensburg MTN - Qhubeka 3:47:07

General Classification:
1. Jacques Janse van Rensburg MTN - Qhubeka 7:04:49
2. Louis Meintjes MTN - Qhubeka 7:05:32
3. Merhawi Kudus MTN - Qhubeka 7:06:12
4. Daniel Teklehaimanot MTN - Qhubeka 7:06:26
5. Carl Pasio South African National Team 7:06:35

Best African:
1. Jacques Janse van Rensburg MTN - Qhubeka

Best young rider:
1. Louis Meintjes MTN - Qhubeka

Points classification:
1. Jacques Janse van Rensburg MTN - Qhubeka

Mountain classification:
1. Louis Meintjes MTN - Qhubeka

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