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  1. Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) won the 18th stage of the Vuelta a Espana after out-sprinting fellow breakaway partner Haimer Zubeldia (Trek Factory Racing). Louis Meintjes was our top finisher in 17th place. Click here to view the article
  2. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) would put in a blistering ride at the Vuelta a Espana stage 17 individual time trial to not only win the stage, but to also move into the overall race lead. Steve Cummings was our top placed rider in 9th. Click here to view the article
  3. For MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung the plan today was to have a good go at the stage with Stevo and for Louis Meintjes to retain his top 10 place on GC. The rest of our riders, not known time trial specialists, looked to get around the 39km course in one piece with 3 tough stages still to come. Steve would have a mid-field start today which saw him go through the 2 intermediate time checks in 1st and then 2nd position respectively. At the finish our British star would clock the 2nd fastest time of the day after averaging 47.8km/h, a solid effort given the windy conditions out there. Attention was then focused on the GC battle and whether our young South African could hold off Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) to retain his 10th place on the general classification. Louis started out conservatively which saw him lose as much as 40 seconds to Pozzovivo by the 2nd time check, but a super strong finish saw Louis claw back some seconds and comfortably held on to 10th overall. Once all riders had come in, Steve would be left with 9th place on the stage. Another consistent result against the clock after his top 10 placing at the Tour de France time trial earlier in the year as well. I liked the course a lot. It was a beautiful course through a nice city. It wasn't all that technical, just the last bit with the climb and descent was a little technical. It was just a power course really but it was kind of hard to judge because it was uphill to start and then headwind, so no real rest. You had to put a bit more effort going out than coming back but not too much because it was still a long way to go. It became a mental battle because it was a pretty long effort, like 50 minutes. In the end I think it was quite good, I did the best I could. Steve Cummings - Rider
  4. With 7 classified climbs over the 185km route it was always going to be an exciting day in the general classification race. The early racing though saw 10 riders get away from the peloton. With none of the 10 riders being a threat on GC, they were allowed as much as 22 minutes lead and inevitably the chance to decide the stage honours. For MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung it was all about looking after Louis Meintjes on this difficult day. The team did a fantastic job to ensure Louis started the penultimate climb under the best conditions possible. Tinkoff-Saxo were the team to then start applying the pressure on the cat 1 Cobertoria climb after some initial work by Katusha. Over the top, there were only 18 riders left in the favourites group, including Louis. The final climb was only 6.8km in length but with an average gradient of 11% and peaks around 30%, it certainly showed which GC riders were feeling the effects of a hard Vuelta. Louis was one rider though that proved to still have good legs as he came 7th out of the main GC contenders and 15th on the stage. With his result, Louis was able to consolidate his 10th position on general classification as we head into tomorrow's rest day. It was actually a strange stage because there was a break of 10 riders and nobody would pull straight away. We thought Katusha might start pulling but they waited until 22 minutes which was strange for me. This morning we spoke with the boys in the bus and we are looking to get them to Madrid so we did not want to blow them up in the beginning, so we supported Louis 100% today. They all did a good job and Jaco was still there for him with a bottle deep into the stage. On the last climb Louis was amazing, he was dropping Valverde, Pozzivivo and other guys. It was nice to hear it on the radio. So he remains in the top 10 and took time on many guys which is good ahead of the TT. Jean-Pierre Heynderickx – Sport Director
  5. The 16th stage of the Vuelta a Espana, deemed the queen stage, saw Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) secure the stage win from the early breakaway. Louis Meintjes put in another incredible ride to solidify his top 10 place on the General Classification. Click here to view the article
  6. The 15th stage of the Vuelta a Espana saw Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) reign supreme on the steep slopes of the Alto de Sotres. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 2nd with Daniel Moreno (Katusha) rounding out the stage podium. Click here to view the article
  7. Louis Meintjes put in another stellar ride as he climbed back into the top 10 in the overall classification after claiming 11th on the stage. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were in the spotlight for the majority of the stage as Natnael Berhane, made the break of the day with 8 other riders. Their advantage hovered around 2 minutes for most of the day as Movistar decided to lead the chase from very early on. After the break got slightly frustrated with Movistar chasing so hard so early, they sat up, but then so did the peloton. Once the break got going again they then forged out 4 minutes but it was not going to be enough time as Astana set a fast pace on the final 11.7km climb. In the end, Natnael was the penultimate rider to be caught with 6km to go as the GC favourites started to have a go at each other. Louis rode an intelligent race and just followed the wheels to cross the line 11th, +41" on the stage victor. It was another nervy day with quite a lot of wind. Movistar controlled the race for most of the day, it looked their guys were confident about going for the stage win. For us, we had Natnael up the road and so the rest of the guys supported me really well all day up to the climb. From there I just it gave it my best. I am happy with how things worked out. Louis Meintjes - Rider
  8. Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez claimed the 15th stage of Spain's Vuelta to move within one second of overall leader Fabio Aru on Sunday. Click here to view the article
  9. Rodriguez, 36, was strongest on the 12.7km category one climb to the finish of the 175.8km ride from Comillas to Sostres to win from Poland's Rafal Majka and fellow-Spaniard Daniel Moreno. Katusha's Spanish cyclist Joaquim Rodriguez rides to the finish line to win the 15th Stage of the 2015 Vuelta Espana cycling tour, a 175,8km route between Comillas and Sotres Cabrales on September 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JAIME REINA Aru, who is bidding to go one better than his runners-up spot in this year's Giro d'Italia, was fifth on the day, 15 seconds behind, to hold onto his lead by the slenderest of margins. Majka's second place was also enough to move him up to third overall, 1min 24sec behind. It was a tough day for Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, though, as he was dropped on the final climb and falls to fourth overall, one second behind Majka. "It is a big confidence boost because we have been looking for the stage win and to be involved in the general classification as well is great," Rodriguez told Television Espanola. "We are in a perfect position, just one second off Aru. Whoever is the strongest will win this Vuelta so being ahead or behind by a second I don't think makes a big difference. The most important thing is that I am feeling very good," added Rodriguez, who has twice finished third in his home Tour in 2010 and 2012. A nine-man breakaway had led the stage for most of the day, but the peloton never allowed them a lead of more than four minutes to ensure there would be no repeat of Saturday's breakaway victory for Alessandro De Marchi. Nairo Quintana was the first of the general classification favourites to attempt an attack, but the 2014 Giro d'Italia champion was kept in check by Aru's Astana team. Rodriguez made his break for the line with a kilometre to go and neither Quintana or Aru could respond to allow the Katusha rider to add a first Vuelta stage victory for two years to his two wins at the Tour de France in July. Quintana remains three minutes back in ninth overall, 35 seconds behind his Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde. "Rodriguez had a great stage, but there are still stages left to achieve things in this Vuelta," said Aru. Dumoulin, who is one of the big favourites for Wednesday's 38.7km time trial in Burgos, recovered well from being dropped by the peloton to limit the damage as he finished 51 seconds back in 12th. "I tried to go at my rhythm and not get involved with the real climbers. I am doing better on the mountains, but not like them," said Dumoulin. "I have to prepare for the time trial with the same calm that I have up until now. If it goes well then it will be great for me and the team, but it is clear everyone wants to win this Vuelta and there can be only one winner." Results from the 15th stage of Spain's Vuelta, a 175.8km ride from Comillas to Sostres on Sunday: Stage1. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 4hr 33min 31sec, 2. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) at 12sec, 3. Daniel Moreno (ESP/KAT) 0:14, 4. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 0:15, 5. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) s.t, 6. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 0:18, 7. Esteban Chaves (COL/OGE) 0:20, 8. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 0:24, 9. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 0:29, 10. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 0:41 Selected others: 12. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 0:51 Overall 1. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 61hr 53min 56sec, 2. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) at 0:01., 3. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 1:24., 4. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 1:25., 5. Esteban Chaves (COL/ORI) 1:34, 6. Daniel Moreno (ESP/KAT) 2:08, 7. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 2:19, 8. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 2:25., 9. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV)3:00, 10. Louis Meintjes (RSA/MTN) 5:07.
  10. The 14th stage of the Vuelta a Espana saw the break of the day succeed with Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing) 1st across the line. Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky) was 2nd and Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) was 3rd. Click here to view the article
  11. It was a break of 5 riders that would headline the longest stage of this year’s Vuelta a Espana as they reached a maximum lead of just over 10 minutes during the course of the day. Astana set a moderate tempo for the duration of the stage, only upping the pace somewhat when we reached the final climb of the day, the 18km out of category Alto Campoo. With a lead of 8'30" at the start of the climb it was always going to be the break who would decide the stage on the misty slopes, De Marchi proving to be strongest. Back in the peloton, the GC contenders only sprung to life with around 4km to go. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and race leader Fabio Aru (Astana) were first to attack. All the favourites followed as best they could, including our Louis Meintjes. In the end Louis would finish among all the main contenders in 16th, pulling back a few seconds on the riders directly ahead of him on the GC. Louis is still in 12th on GC but now only 1'02" from the top 10 once again. It was the longest stage today at 215km but also the neutral zone was also 16km making for over 230km. So it was a pretty long and hard stage after 13 stages of the Vuelta already. There was quite a battle to get into the break today. At first Songezo was in the break of 10 guys, they had 20 seconds and then the peloton closed them down. 5 guys then went away and Astana controlled up to the last climb. Louis did a good job, he moved a bit closer to the top 10 once again which is good motivation for the next tough stages. Jean-Pierre Heynderickx - Sport Director
  12. The 7th stage of the Vuelta a Espana saw Louis Meintjes impress yet again as he climbed with all the favourites to eventually finish the stage in 9th place. The stage win went to the early breakaway rider, Bert-Jan Lindeman (Lotto-Jumbo). Click here to view the article
  13. Today’s 191km stage saw the break get away in the very early kilometres of the race. 5 riders made up the escape group and after building up a gap of 14 minutes at one point, it was looking good for the attackers. Movistar and Tinkoff eventually came to the party and started chasing but it would prove to be a little too late. The 5 leaders started the final cat 1 climb to the line with an 8 minute lead and this would prove to be enough by just over 30 seconds as Lindeman just got the better off breakaway counterpart Ilia Koshevoy (Katusha) on the 18km climb. Fabio Aru (Astana) was the first of the favourites home in 3rd place, he managed to steal 7 seconds from the rest of the GC contenders group. Louis was part of this select GC group and managed to sprint across the line in a terrific 9th place on the stage. The result was also good enough to see Louis move up to 15th overall. The break went early today and then the race was pretty controlled all day before the run in to the final started. The guys looked after me all day, it was really hot so I got a lot of ice and a lot of water. In the final I just stayed with the front group and sprinted at the end. The climb was pretty fast and there was a big group going up there but I think the heat was the deciding factor. You could see some guys were just tired before they even got the climb so the heat was a big factor today. I had good legs though so I hope it continues. Louis Meintjes - Rider
  14. Stage 13 of La Vuelta a Espana was another transition stage. With a few tough days coming up, it was a day made for a brakaway. Steve Cummings got himself into the move with 23 other riders. The group established a lead of more than 5 minutes over the peloton. In the end Nelson Oliviera (Lampre-Merida) outsmarted the other riders in the breakaway, when he rode clear on the last climb. He went on to win the stage, with Steve coming home in 19th position. Click here to view the article
  15. 178 lumpy kilometers from Calatayud to Tarazona were to be covered today. With 3 difficult mountain stages to come in the next days, most teams wanted to get riders in the break of the day. After a very fast start 24 riders eventually broke clear. Astana with race leader Fabio Aru kept control in the peloton and the break in sight. It was only after the halfway point of the stage that the gap grw to over four five minutes. On the last climb of the day the breakaway started to loose its momentum. Numerous riders tried to go solo. Oliviera tried his luck shortly before reaching the summit and opened up a gap of a minute on the descent. Behind him the break stayed together in an effort to keep their advantage over the peloton. A few riders were keen on moving up in the overall. Eventually, Oliviera won the stage. Julien Simon (Cofidis) and Nicholas Roche (Sky) lead home the break. Steve finished in 19th. In the GC Aru kept his lead, while Louis stayed safe. He sits in 12th position now, but is set to move up again come the mountains. “We knew today there would be a good chance for the break. In our meeting we had 3 or 4 guys ready to try make the break. The others teams were on the same plan so it took some time for peloton to let a move go and I made it across as with a small group. I felt okay today but Lampre had the numbers in the break and they used the extra riders to their advantage. Once Oliveria was away they just shut us down so I just kept safe to the line.” Steve Cummings – Rider
  16. The race started to unfold after only a couple of kilometres when five riders got away. Jaco was one of them. The group worked well together to establish a maximum lead of more then 5 minutes. Maxime Bouet (Etixx-QuickStep) was fastest over the climb and remained the man to watch at the front. With 75 kilometres remaining Giant-Alpecin and Trek increased the pace in the peloton and started to whittle down the gap to the leaders. They tried to keep the five in sight. Nevertheless, it started to look good for the break the closer the race got to the finish. The gap was at 2 minutes just 20 kilometres to go and the breakaway riders showed no signs of attacking each other. The tension at the front grew only in the final 3 kilometres. Bouet shut down the first attack, when Jaco made his move under the Flamme Rouge. It seemed that he could pull it off, but the peloton closed in fast. The Stellenbosch native was reeled in with 500 meters to go. Danny van Poppel (Trek) was the fastest at the end, beating Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) and Tosh van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) into second and third. Kristian Sbaragli was the team’s best placed finisher in 8th position. Fabio Aru (Astana) kept his lead in the GC, with Louis Meintjes staying safe in 10th position. We wanted to get someone in the break today. After the last few stages we didn’t want to work so much in the peloton looking at a possible sprint, so this seemed to be the best choice. I managed to get into the day’s break but we were never really able to build up a big lead. We tried to push it on the downhills and worked really well together. With 10 kilometers to go I started to think that we would have a chance to stay away, so I tried to save some energy. When the others started looking at each other 1.5 kilometers before the finish I attacked. I gave it everything I had, but when I looked around at the 500 meters mark the peloton was there. I’m disappointed, since it was so close. It was a hard day. Jaco Venter – Rider It was again a very active stage. We had Jaco in the break and he was at the front until 500 meters to go. In the end it was a bittersweet stage for us. We tried to keep Kristian in a good position, and he finished 8th. It’s another top10 result for the team, so we can actually be happy. Jean-Pierre Heynderickx – Sports Director
  17. Day one after what possibly has been the toughest stage in Grand Tour history. With Andorra left behind the peloton had to cover 173 kilometres to Lleida. Only one categorised climb and a lumpy profile made for a perfect breakaway scenario. But also the sprinters had an eye on this stage. In the end both perspectives came into play. In a breathtaking finale Jaco Venter lacked only 500 meters to take home the win. Click here to view the article
  18. More than 5,000 meters of climbing within 138 kilometres meant to be the grueling menu for the riders at La Vuelta today. The peloton had to tackle no less than six major climbs on a day that reshuffled the general classification. Our young South African Louis Meintjes kept it cool and rode strong all day. At the end he came home in 17th, just 4.19 minutes short of stage winner Mikel Landa (Astana). Louis sits now 10th in the GC. Click here to view the article
  19. The race started fast with Darwin Atapuma (BMC) attacking from the gun. Natnael Berhane tried to bridge across, but couldn’t quite match the speed when more riders went up the road. Eventually 19 riders moved clear with Landa among them. Back in the peloton it was Sky who lead the chase, after Chris Froome had taken a tumble in the early part of the race. Yet, they weren’t to be the ones to watch out for in the end. The reigning Tour de France winner was dropped with the finale still to come. With about 40 kilometers to go the break was down to 5 riders. 2 minutes behind them a group with outgoing race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) tried to put time into Froome. Being surrounded by the likes of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Fabio Aru (Astana), Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) this group was the right one for Louis. He managed to stay in there and cover all attacks until the race reached the final climb. With 8,7 kilometers in length and a 12 percent maximum gradient this was the one to decide the stage. At the front Landa attacked his breakaway companions and moved on to win the stage ahead of Aru. The Italian rode clear from Rodriguez and the other GC contenders in the last 5 kilometers, when the competition was blown into pieces. He took over the GC lead and sits now in front of Rodriguez and Dumoulin. Behind them Louis rode at his pace with the favorites in sight. He now ranks 10th with another few tough days to come. It was a pretty epic stage. Luckily it was mostly dry. I had a bit of a misfortune on the first climb with my chain getting stuck. Johann and Jaco did an awesome job to keep me in the race. It was just a big day and I managed to stay with the front guys. I gave it everything up the last climb, but it was just 2 kilometres too long. Louis Meintjes – Rider
  20. Kristian Sbaragli once again proofed to be on form when stage 10 of La Vuelta a Espana came to conclusion today in Castellòn. The 24-year-old Italian powerhouse rode himself into perfect position over the last kilometer to finally beat John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar) into second and third. This win marks Kristian’s first ever triumph in a European UCI race. Click here to view the article
  21. With only 146 kilometres to cover and a second-category climb 16 kilometres from the line the race was set to be hectic. There were numerous attacks and it took quite a while until a group of 14 took off. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung was represented in this break with Tour de France stage winner Steve Cummings. Nevertheless, Giant-Alpecin and Trek had different ideas in mind and kept the group in sight. With 45 kilometers to go the escapees were reeled in. After that the team played a waiting game to stay in contention. No other attack was meant to be successful. Kristian rolled over the climb in about 20th position and managed to hold it together on the fast run-in to Castellòn. Placing 6th twice and 3rd once in the last nine days he waited long to open his sprint. With 200 meters to go he left it all on the bike to celebrate a breakthrough win, the second Grand-Tour stage win for our team this year. Louis Meintjes rode strong as well and kept his good overall position. He still sits 12th in the GC. I was feeling really well on the climb and just didn’t want to miss out again. I came so close a few times already in this La Vuelta, so I decided to wait until 200 meters to go before leaving it all out there. It’s sensational, something I never tasted before. This win is good for our team, but especially for Qhubeka and our 5.000 bikes campaign. Kristian Sbaragli – Rider It’s unbelievable, a milestone performance for Kristian. He rode really well in the first couple of days, but felt disappointed after his near misses. Today he did everything right and managed to get the team’s second Grand-Tour stage win this year. It’s a great moment for us as a team. Jens Zemke – Head Sports Director
  22. Stage 9 of La Vuelta a Espana saw Songezo Jim animating the break of the day and Louis Meintjes finishing in 10th. The menu offered a similar profile like the previous day with the Cumbre del Sol being the sole obstacle of the day. However, the riders had to tackle the climb twice, finishing on the summit the second time around. Averaging at 11 percent it was all but easy. Click here to view the article
  23. Starting in Torrevieja the peloton rode along the Costa Blanca. The area is know as a regular training camp territory for a lot of riders and it didn’t take long until some tried to make use of their local knowledge. Songezo managed to get into the days 14 men breakaway. The group was able to build up a lead of 5.20 minutes before the big teams began to chase. Katusha and Sky were to be seen on the front of the peloton, when the break hit the Cumbre del Sol for the first time. Songezo battled hard to stay with his breakaway companions. He couldn’t quite match the speed when the former allies started to attack each other with the first KOM in sight. Back in the peloton Louis held his cards close to his chest and managed to stay with the GC favourites when they reeled in the breakaway’s remnants. On the final 3.5 kilometers it was Dutch Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) who proofed to be the strongest. He put in a strong attack, but was caught by Chris Froome (Sky) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) only a few hundred meters before the line. Nevertheless, he attacked again to win the stage and take over the GC lead. 23-year-old Louis Meintjes stayed in contention and came home 34 seconds short of Dumoulin. In the GC he moved up to 12th place. I am happy to finally making the break of the day. After trying hard for 3 days now, it was quite a good feeling to represent the team out front. When the break went, Jaco Venter closed the gap and I jumped across to the move. It was good for us, but unfortunately we were caught. I gave my best and I’ll surely try again to get into another break. Who knows, the next time we might stay away. Songezo Jim – Rider It was another stressful day. The stage started with some crosswinds and I was involved in a crash, just 30km into the race. Luckily I didn’t hurt myself. The team did a fantastic job once again looking after me all day. My legs didn’t feel as good as in the previous days, but I’m happy placing 10th and moving up in the GC. Louis Meintjes – Rider
  24. There were highs and lows in the Trek Factory Racing Team on Saturday. Just a few hours after young Belgian talent Jasper Stuyven won the 8th stage of the Vuelta a Espana, the team announced he was forced to withdraw from the race due to a broken left scaphoid. Click here to view the article
  25. Jasper Stuyven was one of the many involved in the huge crash at 50 kilometers from the finish, which also took Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Soudal), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Daniel Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) out of the race. Stuyven: “Like I said after the finish, I felt my wrist and it was getting more and more painful, so I asked to go to the hospital to make the check. I was already scared that it could be the scaphoid because I know from friends who are cyclists what the pain feels like and where it’s located. And, unfortunately, the X-rays confirmed that it is broken and that my Vuelta finishes today.” Nevertheless, Stuyven remains positive: “At first I was of course really disappointed, but then I realized that I really have to enjoy this moment, because now is the time to enjoy my first professional win. For what’s next, I will see when I get home and have the surgery.” Team doctor Nino Daniele, who accompanied Stuyven to the hospital explains: “The fracture is not dislocated, so in fact it won’t be difficult to resolve it, but it goes without saying that Jasper cannot ride his bike for now. First of all, it would be very painful, but then it’s also possible that the broken bones move and we absolutely want to avoid that.” Jasper Stuyven will fly back to Belgium on Sunday in order to have surgery as soon as possible in his hometown, Leuven. “If anything goes well, as I hope, in a couple of weeks, he should be back on the bike and probably sooner on the rollers with his cast,” the team doctor confirmed.
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