Interview: Reinardt Janse van Rensburg

Janse van Rensburg Left Hungry for Revenge after World Road Cycling Champs    

Reinardt Janse van Resnburg [photo courtesy: MTN Qhubeka]

After an explosive season on the European circuit, South Africa’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg was looking to make a statement at the World Road Cycling Championships in the Netherlands this past week but after a series of bad luck he walked away hungry for revenge instead.

The promising young South African put MTN-Qhubeka on the map this year with 14 international wins including Ronde van Zeeland in the Netherlands where he out-sprinted Lars Boom of Team Rabobank. Despite having ambitions for the World Championship road race to be well place in the final sprint, luck was not on his side after a crash that forced him to abandon in the final stages of the 267km race.

Entered in all three elite events, the team time trial, the individual time trial, and the road race, Janse van Rensburg started the World Championships on a high note with his trade team MTN-Qhubeka finishing 23rd out of 32 in the team time trial. With a goal to finish in the top 25, the race went to plan but, according to Janse van Rensburg, they never expected to beat out a team like Lampre. They [the bigger professional teams] have 27 riders to choose from and we only have 8.They have bigger budgets and infrastructure”, said Janse van Rensburg.

Team Time Trial [photo courtesy: qhubeka.org]

Team Time Trial [photo courtesy: kafoe-fotografie.nl]

Unfortunately, the team time trial was the end of the Janse van Rensburg’s luck. In the individual time trial, rainy weather conditions led to a crash on a slippery corner. After a quick bike change, he then discovered his brakes would not release and unfortunately had to finished the event with his break impeding his wheel. Disappointed, as time trialing is one of his strengths, he calculates that without all the set backs he would have been contending for the bronze medal.

In the road race, things didn’t go any better. “It was fast the whole time,” he says, noting “it was harder than I expected.” His teammates, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Jay Thomson, worked to position Reinardt to compete in the final sprint but the South African team’s hopes were dashed when Reinardt crashed in the last 50km, breaking his bike, and was forced to abandon. “I had to wait too long for a bike. There were a lot of guys on the floor and they didn’t call our car to the front..There was only a handful of guys who got through right away and made it back,” said Janse van Rensburg.

Road Race [photo courtesy: Fotoreporter Sirotti]

The Cauberg [Photo courtesy: Bettini]

Although the race didn’t go his way, he says racing on the Cauberg was “quite special, being one of the iconic places of cycling” and that the atmosphere of the crowd also made the entire experience “something special.”

Unhappy with he is calling a “cruel end” to his first World Championships as an elite, he stays positive tweeting to followers “One thing I can take out of this; I can definitely do this.” With a dream to be the first African road cycling world champion, Janse van Rensburg is looking forward to next year’s World Championships in Italy as well as hopefully, he says with a smile, racing Amstel Gold to “get revenge on the Cauberg.”

Bicycling Magazine, 26 September 2012

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