Nineteen-year-old Reinardt Janse van Rensburg gave his teen years a memorable send-off on Saturday when he outsprinted two of South African cycling’s biggest stars to win the Berge en Dale Super Classic in Krugersdorp.
Janse van Rensburg, who rides for the Toyota Supercycling Academy team, won the 97km race ahead of Team Barloworld’s Daryl Impey and DCM Chrome’s Jacques Janse van Rensburg (no relation to Reinardt) giving himself an early present for his 20th birthday on Tuesday.
Impey is a former South African Under-23 road race and time trial champion, who has become one of the country’s top sprinters, while Jacques Janse van Rensburg is the current South African Under-23 road race champion. Neither had a team in the race, which the modest Reinardt Janse van Rensburg conceded contributed to him beating them.
“I’m obviously thrilled to beat two such good riders, but I have to give credit to my team who kept the race together and sheltered me for the first two thirds allowing me to be fresh for the sprint,” smiled the elated winner, who was clearly savouring every moment of the biggest win of his short career.
The race-winning break went with 30km remaining when the lead pack hit the Krugersdorp Highway on what is a more challenging new route for the popular Gauteng race. Impey attacked taking the two Janse van Rensburgs with him. The trio then worked together to build up a lead of more than a minute before the final dash.
“I saw that Daryl was tired because he’d been very active earlier in the race and near the finish he was skipping some turns. I made sure I put both him and Jacques in front of me in the final few hundred metres and my legs were still fresh enough to get past Daryl, the better sprinter, before the line,” recalled Janse van Rensburg.
A minute later, Dalivier Ospina led the main field home with another Toyota Supercycling Academy rider, Dylan Girdlestone, rounding out the top five.
The fact that Janse van Rensburg beat Impey to the line is also significant in that Barloworld is a supporting sponsor of the Toyota Supercycling Academy, which identifies and nurtures talented riders from Under-14 to Under-23 level. Over the past few weeks, South African-based Team Barloworld riders, Robert Hunter, Daryl Impey, John Lee Augustyn and Chris Froome have integrated with the Academy as well as other initiatives that support young riders, sharing their knowledge and showing their support.
Absent from Saturday’s race were the MTN Energade, Medscheme and Neotel professional teams who all travelled to the Eastern Cape for Sunday’s The Herald VW Cycle Tour. That left the Berge en Dale race with a much thinner Elite men’s field than normal, a fact Janse van Rensburg acknowledges, personally rating the Saturday’s win lower than his third place finish at last year’s Pick n Pay Amashovashova.
But beating two such classy riders in any race on any day is an impressive feat and one that Janse van Rensburg will always treasure no matter how bright his future turns out to be.
Berge en Dale Super Classic
Krugersdorp – 97km
1 Reinardt Janse van Rensburg – Toyota Supercycling Academy 02hr17min20sec
2 Daryl Impey – Barloworld
3 Jacques Janse van Rensburg – DCM Chrome same time
4 Dalivier Ospina 02:18:20
5 Dylan Girdlestone – Toyota Supercycling Academy same time