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Meintjes leaves UAE for Dimension Data

South Africa’s Louis Meintjes will ride for African team Dimension Data next year, the World Tour outfit revealed on Monday. Meintjes, 25, finished eighth place at the Tour de France in 2016 and 2017.

Meintjes rode for the Dimension Data team (then called MTN Qhubeka) from 2013-2015 but left in 2016 to join WorldTour squad Lampre-Merida, which became UAE this year. Meintjes led the Italian team’s Tour de France squad in both 2016 and 2017, and narrowly missed out on the race’s Best Young Rider prize each year.

“I am super excited to be coming back home to an African team,” said Meintjes in a Dimension Data statement.

Meintjes brings major stage racing clout to Dimension Data, which has been without a true general classification rider since it stepped into the WorldTour in 2016. The team has primarily targeted sprints at the Grand Tours with sprinters Mark Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen, with breakaway expert Stephen Cummings also targeting stage victories in the high mountains.

Meintjes will be on the start line at the Vuelta a Espana, which starts on Saturday. He finished 10th at the Vuelta in 2015 while last year he was seventh in the Olympic Games road race.

Team principal Douglas Ryder said he hopes Meintjes hopes the squad land on a Grand Tour podium. “Louis was a part of our initial journey and we are delighted to have him rejoin our team as we embark on the next part of the team’s dream,” Ryder said.

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