In road cycling things can change quickly.
A few weeks ago Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Energade) would tell people that he did not really like big bunch sprints. For him to have a realistic chance of winning a race, he had to be in a small breakaway.
But in the Lost City race this past weekend (21-22 August 2010), Janse van Rensburg surprised himself, as well as the top sprinters from all the other professional teams, when he outsprinted Malcolm Lange and Arran Brown (both Medscheme).
It does not often happen that Lange and Brown are beaten in a sprint.
According to Janse van Rensburg, it was the first time ever that he managed to win a bunch sprint in a pro-elite race.
“I outsprinted Malcolm and Arran in a bunch sprint at the Carousel a few weeks ago, but that was only to take the fourth position. This time it was for the victory.
“I really had to keep my wits about me during the last kilometer or so. Lost City is not known to be one of the toughest races on the local calendar. This meant that almost all the riders were still together when we went into the sprint. To make things worse, and even dangerous, we also caught up with the tandem riders.
“At first things were not going my way. My MTN-Energade teammate, Christoff van Heerden, was supposed to lead me into the sprint, but I lost his wheel. Because of this I went backwards for a few seconds, but then one or two gaps opened up in front of me and I made the most of it.
“As luck would have it, I saw that the House of Paints riders were getting their train organized the moment I got to the front. I did not think twice before I latched on to Dean Edwards’s wheel. In doing so, I ensured that I had the perfect lead-out. I kicked with about 200 meters to go.”
Janse Van Rensburg is certainly experiencing a good season. Besides winning the Lost City, he also won the Carnival City and Knysna Oyster Festival races. During the Tour of Morocco he was in excellent form and finished second in no less than five of the stages. Consequently, he finished second overall in the points competition.”
When asked to explain his success, Janse van Rensburg said emphatically that there is no substitute for hard work and dedication.
“What certainly works for me is that we, the MTN-Energade Team, train at least once a week on the Hector Norris Track. This is quite a tough training session, because we push each other to the limit. Racing on the track has also given me much more confidence. I am really beginning to believe in my abilities as a sprinter.”
1st Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (MTN Energade) 2:22:56
2nd Malcolm Lange (Team Medscheme)
3rd Arran Brown (Team Medscheme)
4th Pieter Seyffert (DCM)
5th Tyler Day (EMG Cycling)
6th Christoff Van Heerden (MTN Energade)
7th Dean Edwards (House of Paint)
8th Juan Van Heerden (MTN Energade)
9th JC Jooste (Team Matlosana)
10th Dennis van Niekerk (EMG Cycling)