JOHANNESBURG – Louis Meintjes was top of the pile for South Africa as the Tour de France ended in Paris on Sunday.
The UAE Team Emirates rider ended eighth overall in the general classification, 8min 20sec 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 General Classification, Meintjes’ fellow Olympian Daryl Impey was the 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 teammate 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 the 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.
“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 10 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.”
African News Agency (ANA)