Meintjes dreams of Tour de France win

The 25-year-old Meintjes, riding for Team UAE, finished second in the ‘Best Young Rider’ category behind Simon Yates.

South African cyclist Louis Meintjes. Picture: Twitter/@LouisMeintjes.

PARIS - South Africa’s Louis Meintjes hopes that his 8th place finish at the Tour de France will serve as inspiration to become the first South African to ever win the race.

Meintjes was speaking in an exclusive video interview with EWN Sport in France after the conclusion of the stage 20 time trial in Marseille.

Team Sky’s Chris Froome won his fourth title ahead of Rigoberto Uran and local hero Romain Bardet.

The 25-year-old Meintjes, riding for Team UAE, finished second in the Best Young Rider category behind Simon Yates.

He says that the goal in his mind is very clear.

"Winning is definitely the dream but it is definitely to give it my best. There are always other competitors and your result depends on how quickly the other guys goes and how quickly you go. So, I'm definitely dreaming of winning the Tour de France and I'm trying to take the small steps to get there."

It’s been a strong tour for the South African contingent – Meintjes’ result, Daryl Impey performing well and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka also featuring strongly despite losing star sprinter Mark Cavendish. Meintjes says the country’s becoming a force.

"South Africa has really arrived at world cycling. Together with Dimension Data, Daryl Impey and myself, and also the other riders, they're going to races, not just the Tour de France, and being real contenders and being real important factors in races."

Meintjes has high hopes for the future.

"It's not like we arrive at races to say that Africa is represented, we're going there as real contenders. I think it will change even more in the years to come beacue it looks like there are quite a few young guys coming through."

WATCH: Louis Meintjes on the Tour de France