The Lampre-Merida squad for the Tour de France is a youthful and inexperienced one; but don’t let that distract you. Louis Meintjes and Rui Costa are set to be at the helm for the squad when the Tour kicks off on 2nd July.
Looking at the line up I think it would be realistic to say that a top ten finish on GC would be a realistic ambition for Lampre-Merida. I don’t expect them to win it, but I do expect at least a stage win from the Italian outfit. Louis Meintjes is one of the rough diamonds emerging in the cycling world. He has potential in spades and the South African will arrive at the Tour de France on the back of a solid Criterium du Dauphiné.
The South African debuted at the Tour last year for MTN-Qhubeka and finished a more than respectable fifth in stage 12 to Plateau de Beille. He seems to be coming to form at just about the right time, finishing 9th in the Dauphiné. He is also one of the contenders for best young rider; so keep a look out for a potential fighter for white jersey honours.
Rui Costa is one I would count on to potentially poach a stage or two. He seemed to struggle to really assert himself on the Tour de Suisse this year – a race he’s won three times in the past – but the former world champion could produce some fireworks if the stage and a breakaway allows. He didn’t get a chance to shine last year. In fact he’s finished neither of the last two Tours de France, but if he makes it to Paris I wouldn’t be surprised to see him arrive in the company of at least one stage win.
The full line up for Lampre-Merida is below: