Louis Meintjes South African Tour de France
Cycling - Tour de France - Stage 11 - Sorgues to Malaucene - France - July 7, 2021 Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux rider Louis Meintjes of South Africa crosses the line of stage 11 REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Louis Meintjes of South Africa has climbed from 19th position to 16th after crossing the line of Stage 11 in the gruelling 2021 Tour de France today, Wednesday 7 July 2021.

Riding for Belgium’s Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux, Louis is the only South African left in the race after Nic Dlamini and Stefan de Bod sadly didn’t finish Stage 9 in time.

Stage 11 saw the riders set off from Sorgues to Malaucene, in France. The stage was won by Belgium rider Wout van Aert.

On Monday Louis also had spectator support from South African athlete Gerda Steyn (a winner of the Comrades and Two Oceans in SA), who is based in France. He retweeted a message from her, thanking her for the support, after she said: “Excited for @LeTour to pass through our town tomorrow!!! Rain today and tomorrow plus a brutal finish waiting for the riders… 🏔 I have my Flag of South Africa ready hehe!!”

After the mountain climb, Louis said yesterday: “I’ve never experienced something like that before, luckily I survived.”

Although it’s bitterly disappointing for Dlamini (25) and De Bod (24), both have received high praise for their participation in the prestigious international cycling event.

De Bod’s team Astana–Premier Tech said: “(Broken hearted) to see @StefandBd leaving @LeTour, a rider’s dream, after fighting so hard. Stefan, you rode an amazing race and we know you will come back stronger!”

Jean Smyth, Communications Director of Dlamini’s Team Qhubeka NextHash, said: “Two heroic performances from (South Africans) at @LeTour. Both @StefandBd & @nich_dlamini
finished out of the time limit but depart as better riders, and as incredible ambassadors for their families, teams & country. Both will be back…”