A silver at the Under-23 World Championships makes you a contender.
Finishing a stage of the Tour de France with a bug that sends you directly to hospital for two days proves you have the potential to be a champion. Add to that innate talent, small town humility and dedication and you get Louis Meintjes.
“Our great hope for a Tour contender,” says Ride magazine editor Tim Brink. A recent move to European road racing team Lampre-Merida suggests the global world of cycling agrees.
Robbie Hunter, Meintjes’s manager, certainly does: “He has the genes and power-to-weight ratio to win stage races. Very few athletes have this capacity to climb and recover. That’s the only way to win over days and weeks.”
It has been a quick climb for Meintjes, 24. In 2015 he won the African Continental championships and later his first professional race on European soil, Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.
The boy-sized hill climber from Rustenburg has a humble take on his achievements: “I don’t think it was a bad performance… The team was really great again,” he reflected in his blog after finishing eighth and winning the white jersey for best young rider at last year’s Giro del Trentino in Italy. Find Louis Meintjies on Twitter: @LouisMeintjes