Tour win for Reinardt | SASCOC - SASCOC

Tour win for Reinardt

It seems everything Reinardt Janse van Rensburg touches turns to gold these days, writes Mark Etheridge.

The young Pretoria rider added another notch to his bow on Tuesday when he won the seven-stage Tour de Bretagne in France.

Starting the day’s final stage 13 seconds in arrears of the yellow-jerseyed Eric Berthou of the Bretagne-Schuller stage, Janse van Rensburg ended second overall for the stage.

The stage was one of 166 kilometres from Langonnet to Dinan and featured some testing final circuits.

The MTN-Qhubeka rider launched out of the bunch in the final stages to put seven seconds into Berthou’s lead. Then, adding the six-second time bonus for second spot behind stage winner Dimitri Le Boulch of the Auber 93 team, it saw him and Berthou tied on time and it had to go to a count-back to the riders’ stage placings. Clearly Janse van Rensburg’s winning of the fourth stage of the race also counted in his favour.

ÔÇ£In the team meeting we discussed that none of our riders will go in the early break away and we will wait until the final six circuits in the last 30km of the stage,” said the MTN-Qhubeka team manager Jens Zemke, ÔÇ£Then the team would go full speed to get rid of the yellow jersey’s team mates so that he wasn’t alone and then Reinardt would attack close to the finish to get maximum time.

“All was working perfectly when 10 riders went clear but Bretagne-Schuller could not bring it back so we put Calvin Beneke and Bradley Potgieter on the front to help them. When the circuits started Martin Wesemann and Dennis van Niekerk went as fast as they could which split the bunch. Reinardt went in the final 2km and it was just enough, unbelievable.ÔÇØ

Janse van Rensburg also ended second in the overall points competition with 95 compared to Berthou’s 98 points.

The youngster has now won the All Africa Games time trial, a stage of the Herald Sun Tour in Australia, ended second in the Tour of Hainan (China), won the Argus Cycle tour in Cape Town, and now first the stage and then the overall win in France ÔÇô all in the space of less than eight months.

Paying tribute to Janse van Rensburg was MTN-Qhubeka team principal Douglas Ryder, himself a former Olympic cyclist. “It’s an incredible victory for him and the team, they had a great plan that worked which will give them even more confidence.

“For the team this is huge in terms of our future planning in getting into events and also our business case internally at MTN to go to the next level if that is possible. Many journalists are talking about Reinardt leaving our team to go to bigger and better things without understanding what we as a team are doing and what our intentions are. It is like South African is not better than European and he should leave.

“Reinardt has developed and been given these opportunities thanks to MTN, our other sponsors, and the vision that we have as his team management. Why can we not have a South African/African team competing at that level and paid for in South African Rands? This is where we are trying to get to.”

The team’s next race is on Friday/Saturday when they take on the Ronde van Overijsel in Netherlands and then it’s on to Belgium for the Circuit de Wallone on 6 May.

After that they still have another race in Luxembourg then its back to SA for the Tour de Free State, an important Olympic qualifier and then three more races in Europe before the end of June.

Ryder also reckons that Janse van Rensburg should come into contention for a spot on the Olympic team for later this year. “Reinardt should be a top contender for the Olympics this year. He is young and the course will suit him.”

He’s currently ranked second on the 2012 UCI Rider Rankings. His eight victories are only one less than Tom Boonen. Importantly, at 23, he’s the youngest (by a couple of days) rider in the top 10.