The 3rd stage of the Giro del Trentino would see Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung put in another strong performance on the day. Natnael Berhane animated the stage in the days breakaway and Louis Meintjes went toe-to-toe with favourites on the final climb.
15 riders would go clear in the early break of the day but once the road started to tilt upwards, the weaker riders were soon distanced leaving Natnael out front with 5 other riders and 40km still to race. Team Sky kept the break in check all stage long with the gap never really seeing more than 2’30”. As we hit the penultimate climb of the day, the cat 1 Redebus, Natnael and co. only had 40″ to play with.
A few attacks from the peloton soon saw the break reeled in but it was a job well done by Natnael and his breakaway mates, forcing Team Sky to chase all day and leaving them slightly vulnerable on the final cat 2 climb to the line. 4 riders would get away just before the summit of the Redebus and started the final climb with a slight advantage but it would not last.
With Team Sky running out of pace setters a number of riders would attack the main group on the ascent to the finish. Louis even got involved with attack of his own just 3km from home. The South African would be the last rider Sky would reel in before Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) launched his race winning move.
Pozzovivo would solo to the line with Mikel Landa (Astana) 2nd and Richie Porte (Team Sky) 3rd, 5″ adrift. Louis Meintjes would finish in 9th place once again, 17″ down on the stage victor and extending his lead in the best young rider competition.
Louis Meintjes – Rider
The team was amazing today and I couldn’t have asked for more support. All I had to do was focus on the last climb. I tried to make a move with 3km to go but I was chased down immediately. That started the attacks from the rest of the group and everything was just in pieces all the way to the line.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
It was another strong performance by Louis today. The day went according to plan with Natnael in the break. We were hoping that there was a chance that these 15 riders could come to the finish but Sky and Colombia chased hard all stage and caught the break around 25km to go. After that there were a lot of small attacks but none too significant. Finally on the last climb towards the finish Louis attacked with 3km to go but he wasn’t able to get a gap. In the end, top 10 on the stage and in GC while keeping the white jersey is a good result for today. The team has been doing a great job to support Louis and we will continue to do so at tomorrow’s final stage.