Meintjes Continues Despite High Speed Crash

Battered and bruised, SA's climbing maestro rides on at the Vuelta


Bicycling Staff |

Despite suffering severe lacerations after a high speed crash at the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday, South Africa’s Louis Meintjes still managed to continue on Sunday.

On the Alto de la Falla,  the penultimate climb of the stage, Meintjes accelerated on the climb together with Eritrean teammate, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier as they tried to narrow the gap to the GC favourites group up the road. At the summit, having clawed back some time on the front group, the duo set off down the mountain hoping to close the gap further on the descent.

Unfortunately while pushing the pace on the downhill,  Meintjes’ front wheel washed out in a high-speed corner and he crashed heavily on his left side. Fortunately, the South African was able to pick himself up and complete the stage but all ambitions of racing for a result on the stage were lost.

“Louis had a nasty crash on a descent today while trying to chase back to the front group. He crashed on a corner and rolled down an embankment. He has suffered some injuries, he has a big laceration to the left elbow which required stitches,” Team doctor Dr Jarrad van Zuydam, said after Saturday’s stage. “He has various other lacerations and abrasions which are relatively minor and wont need much more than cleaning and dressing.

“There was obviously some concern when we saw the footage of the crash…”

“There was obviously some concern when we saw the footage of the crash, because of the way Louis stumbled and there were concerns of a potential head injury and concussion in particular. Louis has been assessed thoroughly and he currently does not show any symptoms of a concussion. ”

Meintjes went on to finish Sunday’s stage in 116th position, 34 minutes down on the winner.

It was the second consecutive day in the mountains at La Vuelta, with the peloton having to complete a total of five categorised climbs during the 171km stage, with final climb being a summit finish atop Alto les Praeres.

A strong breakaway of six riders was established after 20km of racing and the peloton did not want to give them too much of a lead, resulting in a very high pace throughout the stage. Three riders from the break then attacked on the slopes of Alto de La Mozqueta and the pressure was on in the peloton to bring them back.

It was a tricky descent coming off the Alto de La Mozqueta and with Bahrain-Merida pushing the pace in the main group, the peloton split in two. Louis Meintjes and the rest of his Dimension Data for Qhubeka teammates were in the 2nd part of the split.

Up the road, Michal Kwiakowski (Team Sky) was the final rider from the breakaway to be caught, just as the final climb of Alto les Praeres began. Simon Yates proved to be the strongest on the stage as he took the stage victory and also regained the overall race lead.

READ MORE ON: Louis Meintjes Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka Vuelta a España