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Reinardt sixth in Oz

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg was the top-placed South African in the first stage of the Jayco Herald Sun tour cycle race in Australia on Wednesday, writes Mark Etheridge.

Janse van Rensburg, the All Africa Games individual time trial winner in Mozambique last month, ended sixth after the 170.4 kilometre stage between Whittlesea and Ballarat.

Winner was Aussie Rhys Pollock (Drapac), who claimed the biggest win of his career, crossing in 4hr 09min 23sec. Next home was Denmark’s Jonas Aen Jorgensen of Denmark, riding for Sasco Bank-SunGard (13sec back).

Pretoria’s Janse van Rensburg, who is representing the MTN-Qhubeka outfit, was 20 seconds slower than the winning time. “That was one hard day! Made the break, but rolled in for 6th. Totally stuffed. Pleased with my ride though”, he said on his Twitter feed.

Janse van Rensburg is part of a six-strong team, the others being Arran Brown (37th yesterday), Bradley Potgieter (38th), Dylan Girdlestone (41st), Dennis van Niekerk (61st) and Namibian rider Loto Petrus (70th).

Ninety-six riders finished the stage on Wednesday and the MTN-Qhubeka team find themselves seventh in the team classification (2:31 off the pace) after the first day.

Speaking to Road to London 2012, Janse van Rensburg said: “There were some world class guys with me in the break and to stay with them took something special from me. I had to push to my absolute limits. The course was quite difficult with plenty of little undulations and wind. A big group rode away right from the start and we worked well together to build up a 7min advantage.

“With 50km to go Jack [Bobridge] decided to split the group and he got away with Pollock. Four of us rode away up the last climb and had a long chase to close down 20sec on Bobridge and caught him with 30km to go.

“With 25km to go I sort of hit the wall but managed to fight to stay on the wheels. With every attack I lost a little ground but fought back to stay in the group.

“Pollock attacked with 5km to go and no one had the power left to respond. He got a small gap and maintained it to the finish. I couldn’t do anything in the finale as I was running on “the last couple of fumes” and rolled in for sixth place. I am quite satisfied with that as there is UCI points for the first six on a stage.

“Everybody reckons Saturday will be the deciding day. So I will try and save as much energy as possible to do well there. We are still looking for a stage win and with a bit of luck its definitely possible.”

The second stage will be ridden on Thursday (140.6km between Ballarat and Geelong) and the race will end in Melbourne on Sunday.


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