It is that time of year when all cycling enthusiasts will be glued to their TV screens to watch the best-attended annual sporting event on the planet the Tour De France. At number two on the list, this three-week cycling event attracts an average TV viewership of 2.6billion. Running from Saturday July 1st to Sunday July 23th 2017, the 104th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,540 kilometers.
These stages have the following profiles:
- 9 flat stages
- 5 hilly stages
- 5 mountain stages including altitude finishes (La Planche des Belles Filles, Peyragudes, Izoard)
- 2 individual time-trials stages
- 2 rest days
One of the revelations of last year’s Tour de France was South African climbing sensation Louis Meintjes. Louis who hails from Rustenburg and proud honorary member of Rustenburg Cycling Club, is part of the new UAE – Abu Dhabi team.
The bird-like climber went toe-to-toe against the big guns last summer, and punched into the top-10 with eighth overall (tied for seventh) at 6:58 back. Also second in the best young rider’s category, expectations are high for a repeat this summer.
The 24-year-old is taking aim at the Tour again this summer. A spindly climber — at just 5-foot-6 at 140lbs, he is similar to Nairo Quintana — Meintjes has a diesel-style engine well-suited for the Tour. His handicap? Like most thin, pure climbers, the time trials. Climbing time trials are another story, and he vows to keep working on his all-round skillset.