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Meintjes now up to eighth in TDF standings

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Louis Meintjes moved up another spot in the Tour de France on Sunday to lie eighth in the general classification as the riders enjoy a well-earned rest day on Monday.

Meintjes remains South Africa’s best-placed rider of the tour to date as he continues his struggle for the Best Young Riders’ white jersey with Orica-Scott’s Simon Yates.

The UAE Team Emirates rider is 3min 07sec behind Yates, a gap that could be all but wiped out on a mountainous stage.

Next-best South African is Daryl Impey, who has moved up slightly to 64th (1:38:59 down on leader Chris Froome). And then it’s Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg in 127th spot (+2:26:24) and Jaco Venter, who has also improved to 159th (+2:54:46).

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was in the heart of the action again on stage 15 of Tour de France, with Serge Pauwels on the attack the whole day.

On paper, Sunday’s stage looked like a good opportunity for a strong break to make it all the way. Therefore, it was no surprise to see countless attacks in the opening kilometres. Dimension Data’s Pauwels was very attentive, covering all the dangerous moves and was always at the front of the race.

At the end, 28 riders managed to distance the peloton. The big breakaway established a huge gap on the pack, who didn’t seem too concerned about the riders at the front. With 40km to go, as the break started on the last steep climb of the day, the gap was over nine minutes.

Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) attacked on the steep gradients with only Pauwels able to follow the pace. At the top, a handful of riders bridged across and it was now clear that the winner of the stage would be one of the riders in this group.

Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) was the first rider to take his chance. He attacked with just over 25km to go. At first, he didn’t get much of a gap, but gradually the distance widened. At the end, he managed to hold off the chase group and solo to victory, while Pauwels crossed the line in 10th place and moved up to 22nd in the general classification.

Monday sees the riders able to enjoy a well-deserved rest day before the Tour continues with another lumpy stage on Tuesday.

Stage 16 is 165km from Le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-sur-Isere, with a climb up on to the Massif Central before descending over the second half, and it looks like another stage for the sprinters.


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