If there was a prize in South African cycling for the most improved local road cyclist Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Energade) would be a deserved winner.
For the past two years Janse van Rensburg was considered to be just another young rider who was battling to full fill the potential he has shown as a junior, but things are certainly changing at high speed.
On Sunday he bagged his fourth big Classic-victory for the year when he won MTN’s Zoo Lake Criterium in Johannesburg.
What makes his victory noteworthy is the fact that it was the second time in a mere four weeks that he has managed to outsprint Malcolm Lange (Medscheme) to take the victory.
Lange is generally seen as the “King of Sprint” of South African road cycling. Even though he is getting on in years there are still not a lot of youngsters that can boast about beating him in a sprint to the line.
Jacques Fullard, a former great sprinter, finished third.
Fans of the ever popular A-Team series and now also a Hollywood movie will all know Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith’s famous saying – “I love it when a plan comes together
Janse van Rensburg could be forgiven if those were exactly the words which flashed through his mind seconds after winning the MTN Zoo Lake Criterium.
For the last four months Janse van Rensburg has made it clear that the MTN Zoo Lake Criterium is the one race he dearly would love to win. Just thinking about it served as extra motivation every time he got on his bike.
Therefore it should be no surprise that Janse van Rensburg and Lange were the two most aggressive riders throughout the MTN Zoo Lake Criterium.
Quite early on during the criterium the two of them along with a few other riders got away in break which was instrumental in catching up and passing the sub-veteran riders, who started racing 35 minutes later.
Just as it seemed as if a big group of riders were going to catch up with the breakaway group Janse van Rensburg attacked again and manage to stay in front. Only Lange and Johan Rabie (both Medscheme) managed to stay with him.
“The first thing that went through my mind as we got caught was that is it, I am not going to win. All of my effort had been in vain. What made things even more difficult was the fact that Christoff van Heerden, my MTN-Energade teammate, punctured which effectively meant that there was no Plan B anymore.
“MTN-Energade was depending on me to win. Luckily through those final few hundred hectic metres of sprinting the ‘cycling gods’ smiled upon my efforts giving me a clear line to launch my final attack. Everything was just perfect,” is how Janse van Rensburg remembered the last few seconds of the race.
Lange just had a bad day at the office because as luck would have the lead-out he was bargaining on faded away before it even got started which put him in a definite disadvantage.
“It does not really help to be upset. It is one of those things that happen in cycling. Sometimes you have the perfect sprint and other times not.”
It is the second time that Lange has finished second in the MTN Zoo Lake Criterium.
1st Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, MTN Energade
2nd Malcolm Lange, Team Medscheme
3rd Jacques Fullard, Black Rock racing
4th Julius Cobbet
5th Dusty Day, House of Paint
6th Arran Brown, Team Medscheme
7th Pieter Seyffert, DCM
8th Hanco Kachelhoffer, Team Medscheme
The second race of the day for the elites was a flying lap sprint race. Once again Team Medscheme fired up the train and was looking good, but into the headwind finish, MTN’s Janse van Rensburg was on a roll for the day, and just managed to get past Lange again for the win! Very impressive from the young rider on the day, taking two wins in the sprint after racing aggressively for the duration of the race!
Sprint lap results:
1st Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, MTN
2nd Malcolm Lange, Team Medscheme
3rd Arran Brown, Team Medscheme
Janse Van Rensburg is certainly experiencing a good season. So far he also won Lost City, Carnival City and Knysna Oyster Festival races.
“Congratulations to Reinhardt for his two victories on the day. The new race format was well received and relied on a much more tactical approach than previous events. All told, it was a wonderful day out for cycling enthusiasts and families alike ,” says Bernard Pieters, senior sponsorship manager at MTN South Africa.
Van Rensburg’s next big goal is to win the MTN Amashovashova.