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Reinardt’s ready to race

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg returns from Copenhagen, Denmark as Team South Africa’s highest placed finisher after a week’s racing at the UCI road world championships.

The Pretoria cyclist ended 17th in the Under-23 men’s road race where he mixed it with the world’s top youngsters, and despite the fact that he was involved in a last-lap crash.

Earlier in the competition Louis Meintjies had ended 18th in the men’s individual time trial Janse van Rensburg was plagued with mechanical trouble during the time trio, eventually ending 58th.

Back to the road race though and Janse van Rensburg ended with the same time (3hr 52min 16sec) as winner Arnaud Demare of France as the French nabbed a 1-2 finish with Adrien Petit taking second.

The race was contested over 12 laps and a total distance of 168 kilometres. “Yes I am really proud of the result. I knew I was capable of it, but I had a lot of pressure to prove to everyone and the selectors, after my terrible time trial,” said Janse van Rensburg.

“The race was not as hard as I expected, I prepared myself mentally for four hours of almost flat-out all the time. But all the riders were nervous of each other and nervous to make a move that wouldn’t work out. However it wasn’t totally easyÔǪ as there were 150 of the best Under-23 riders in the world.

Janse van Rensburg went into the world championships as continental champion after having won the individual time trial race at the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique earlier this month, but back to the Danish dice. “Reynard Butler was really active in beginning covering a few attacks and riding in the front for most of the time.

“Towards the end Louis [Meintjies] got into a six-man break with three laps to go. This turned into the most dangerous break of the day. Normally a climber, he was really impressive for a first year Under-23, riding very strong on the flats, like he did in the TT, where he finished 18th.

“The last lap was total chaos. The last 5km probably saw 5-6 crashes. I was involved in one of those crashes with 2km to go. A guy from behind ploughed into me so hard that my entire hamstring went into immediate cramp, but I somehow managed to stay upright and I had to pedal through it. I lost a lot of positions and I had to fight very hard to move up. Fortunately I saw a gap and moved up to the perfect position with 600m to go in eighth place.”

Normally Janse van Rensburg would have fancied his chances in a position like that but the race and crash had taken it’s toll. “But because of the effort I had made my legs faded in the last 200 metres. As I kicked there was no acceleration left, so a lot of guys passed me in the final 150m.”

Ever the optimist Janse van Rensburg is looking to the future. “Even though I am proud, I would’ve liked to do even better. However I gave it my best shot and I cannot complain about the results.”
His next big race will be the Herald Sun Tour in Australia in December.


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