Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Energade) proved that winning can easily become addictive when he outsprinted Hanco Kachelhoffer and Nic White (both Medscheme) to win the Rand Water Race for Victory.
This was his fifth major Classic victory of the year. He also won the MTN Zoo Lake Criterium in Johannesburg, the Lost City, the Carnival City and the Knysna Oyster Festival races.
It does not often happen that rivals sing each other’s praise after a race, but White readily admits that Janse van Rensburg was the strongest rider of the day.
This is how White described Janse van Rensburg’s performance in his race report:
“Janse van Rensburg made a strong attack on the steep climb. Hanco could react and so did I, following him up the hill and distancing the rest.
“We were still happy with this situation. With two riders in front, and our fast guys chasing from behind we thought we would just follow the wheel of Janse van Rensburg…..
“What we did not expect was the strength of the young MTN rider. He accepted that we would not contribute to the break, and just rode as hard as he needed to, building up a substantial lead on the chasers. Luckily for him, the wind held us on the edge of the road in the ‘gutter’ with little shelter….
“Reaching the dirt, I launched an attack, gaining a few meters, and hoping that the corrugations and loose bits would deter the chase of Janse van Rensburg, but he was still strong, and pegged me back before the tar. I tried again….
“It seems as if Reinardt Janse van Rensburg is becoming the new phenomenon in SA cycling. Unfortunately he has been using his form these past few weeks in SA, but I think it could have been put to far better use at the U23 World Champs and the Commonwealth games,” White wrote.
An-Li Pretorius rounded off MTN-Energade’s domination of the Rand Water Race for Victory by outsprinting Britain’s Catherine Williamson (Bizhub) to win the women’s race over 101 kilometers.
It was the first time that Pretorius had managed to win a big one-day Classic. Her previous best results were finishing second in the EPR race and third in the Lost City.
As far as the men’s race was concerned, Pretorius was also in a win-win situation. Her two favourite riders battled it out in the sprint to the line.
Kachelhoffer is the love of her life, while Janse van Rensburg is one of her study buddies at the University of Pretoria
Actually it has been a good few weeks for Pretorius. She won the third stage of the Clover Tour in the Lowveld and also managed to defend her road title successfully at the South African Students Championship in Bloemfontein.
As far as Sunday’s race is concerned, it was Cassandra Slingerland who first got away in an attack. When Jean-Mari Breytenbach attacked, Pretorius followed. The moment she realized that Breytenbach was starting to tire, Pretorius countered and managed to catch up with her teammate.
Pretorius and Slingerland worked well together and stayed in front all the way through the Suikerbos Game Reserve.
When Williamson joined up with them, the cat and mouse games started.
“I knew I would have to be wide awake going into the sprint to the line, especially since we were sprinting into a headwind. It was the same at Lost City. There I messed it up, but I have learned from my mistakes. This time I timed my final assault to the line to perfection.”
Williamson finished second and Slingerland third.
“The great performances by Reinardt, An-Li, and Cassandra reflects just how competitive the MTN team has been this season. As sponsors, we are proud with the way all our riders are showcasing our brand attributes through hard work, commitment, and a pursuit of excellence,” says Bernard Pieters, senior sponsorship manager at MTN South Africa.