UAE Team Emirates rider Louis Meintjes finished in sixth place overall at Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country).
The 25-year-old rode brilliantly to finish 14th place in Saturday’s sixth and final stage – and ended up bagging a top-six finish in the General Classification.
Alejandro Valverde of Spain won the Tour outright, adding to his victories in Andalusia and Catalonia already this season.
Speaking after the race, Meintjes said his top-10 finish gives him much needed confidence after recent mixed results in the Volta a Catalunya and Abu Dhabi Tour.
“It has been a very good week. I’ve come back to live the feelings of being in the front of the races,” said Meintjes.
“It is an important result and, moreover, it gives me morale and important feedback in view of the next races.”
The South African’s sixth-place finish represents his biggest result to date with the UAE team since joining from Team Dimension Data at the end of last season.
Sports director Orlando Maini said: “Meintjes was constant during the whole week and the sixth place is a proper prize for him, for his good form and for the whole team.”
“We were constantly every day in the top 10. This means that our general level of competitiveness was very good and, most importantly, that we had a very good team spirit.
“It was very difficult to be in the top 10 of the final general classification and we achieved this goal.”
Diego Ulissi sealed a formidable eighth place finish in the final stage individual time trial, 52 seconds behind winner Roglic.
“The result in the time trial makes me happy and I’m confident for the next races,” said Ulissi.
Two races in Belgium follow over the next few weeks with the Fleche Wallone taking place on April 19 and the Liege-Bastogne-Liege on April 23.
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