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- Van Niekerk pays tribute to triumphant Bolt
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SA cyclists shine
- Updated: May 21, 2012
It was a good five days at the office for the MTN-Qhubela cycling outfit as the Flech du Sud tour wound up in Luxembourg on Sunday, writes Mark Etheridge.
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg took second spot in the final stage, to seal a win in the points classification while Dennis van Niekerk was the team’s best placed rider on the General Classification (GC).
Better renowned for his climbing ability Van Niekerk ended ninth on the GC 2min 07sec behind the host nation’s Bob Jungels (Leopard-Trek) who had won Saturday’s time trial over 14.88 kilometres.
Janse van Rensburg unleashed his customary sprint finish to top the points classification with 46 points from Leopard-Trek’s Kern (42 points) who also ended second on the GC. Janse Van Rensburg ended one spot behind Van Niekerk on the GC.
Sealing a solid week for MTN-Qhubeka was their third spot (from 24 teams) in the Team GC, 6:24 behind Team Leopard-Trek’s 44:26:05.
The final stage of the event was also the longest of the tour, a 182km ride between Belvauz and Alzette.
The stage was controlled by Team Leopard-Trek but there was a significant breakaway caught just 7km from the finish┬á ÔÇô including MTN’s Meron Russom, Johan Coenen (Team Differdange) and Swede Lars Andersson ÔÇô┬áwith Russom winning the final King of the Mountain sprint with 30km to go.
Janse van Rensburg went down in a crash at this stage, slipping on a corner in the wet conditions but was brought back to the front of the bunch for the 94-rider sprint. MTN-Qhubeka’s lowest ranked rider in the 108 final GC standings was Meron Russom in 34th spot.
The team now heads back to South Africa for next week’s Tour de Free State and then head back to Europe for the Tour de Gironde in France and then start another UCI Africa Tour race, the Tour of Eritrea on the 30th of May.