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Van Niekerk grabs 7th

By Mark Etheridge

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg found out on Friday that just like life, cycling has it’s up and down.

After a purple patch of form, the powerful Pretoria rider had to settle for 18th spot on the third stage of the Fleche du Sud race in Luxembourgh.

But while it was a bad day at the office for Janse van Rensburg it was a good day for his MTN-Qhubeka team-mate Dennis van Niekerk who took seventh spot in the hilly stage.

The stage was raced between Tandel to Wiltz over a route of 155 kilometres.

Not only did the field have to contend with the hills, they also had to deal with strong crosswinds which broke things up from the word go.

More than 3000-metres of climbing faced the riders but Van Niekerk, ninth in the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia earlier this year, was always in contention and took on the three finishing circuits in a bunch of around 30 riders.

As back-up he had team-mates Martin Wesemann, Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay and Van Rensburg although the latter didn’t make the initial split and had to bridge back solo-style which took the much renowned sting out of his leg for the finish.

The stage win went to Gemany’s Julian Kern in 4hr 02min 01sec with Van Niekerk seventh, 57sec back and and Janse van Rensburg 18th 2:15 adrift.

Sandwiched between them in 11th was fellow South African Jaco Venter, riding for the Team Differdange outfit (1:53 back).

Kern now leads the General Classification standings by 36 seconds from Jure Golcer with Van Niekerk eighth 1:43 back and Van Rensburg 10th (+2:15).

But Janse van Rensburg lives to fight another day. “Died 7 times today. But a great ride from @dennisvaniekerk in the front. Looking foward to TT tomorrow,” he said on his Twitter feed.

“Sometimes you teach lessons, others you are taught lessons. Today I was taught a lesson. Don’t like being taught.”

On Saturday he’ll be looking to hand out a few lessons of his own and a hilly individual time trial stage over 14.88km between Tetane and Rumelange should suit the All Africa Games and current SA time trial champion down to the ground.


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