Reinardt Janse van Rensburg Interview: Twenty wins in 2012 pave way for Argos – Shimano pro debut
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg Interview: Twenty wins in 2012 pave way for Argos – Shimano pro debut

by Ed Hood at 10:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
Gifted South African rider poised to step up a level next season

Reinardt Janse van RensburgOne of the ‘hot properties’ of the 2012 season has come in from left field - Reinardt Janse van Rensburg hails from South Africa and has recently taken his twentieth win of the season. It’s a remarkable victory haul, and the latest success in the Momentum Cycle Challenge is made all the more significant that he recently lost his father, and has dedicated his victory to him.

He’s clearly one of the top young riders in the sport, and will have a chance to line out next year in some of the world’s top UCI events with his new squad.

Despite his home MTN-Qhubeka team’s move up to Pro Continental status for 2013, it was almost inevitable that one of the big teams would snap up the 23 year-old from Virginia Free State.

His win in the Ronde Van Zeeland Seaports saw him relegate the likes of Lars Boom and Kenny van Hummel to the minor places and sealed the fact that his second division days were over: Team Argos-Shimano is the name on his jersey for 2013.

It was 2007 when he took silver in the South African junior time trial championship before taking the same colour of medal in the elite TT in 2009.

An event he would win one year later along with a numerous podium places on the UCI African Tour.

In 2011 he took his first major win – a stage in the Tour du Maroc; he also topped the podium in the All African Time Trial Championship and as a portent for the 2012 season, took a stage in the Herald Sun Tour in Australia.

This season has seen him perform at an altogether different level – winning the best races in his home country; taking another stage in the Tour du Maroc; a stage and the GC in the Tour de Bretagne; the prologue and the GC in the Ronde van Overijssel in The Netherlands as well as the Ronde van Zeeland Seaports in the same nation – and there was the prologue and last stage in the Volta a Portugal.

His twentieth win, dedicated to his father who died recently, came at the weekend the Johannesburg's 94.7 mile Momentum Cycle Challenge.

VeloNation: That's a great name you have - does that go way back to the days of the Boers?

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg: Yeah, a few hundred years ago there was a "van Rensburg" group that set of out of the Cape Colony to discover South Africa as part of the "voortrekkers".

There was also a prophet Siener van Rensburg, who made many accurate predictions and prophecies during and after the Anglo-Boer war.

It's quite a common surname in South Africa.

VN: How did you get into cycling?

RJVR: My dad started riding for a hobby and for health reasons; he got us involved and one year for Christmas he bought me a road bike – I’ve loved it ever since.

He passed away two weeks ago - so I will keep riding in his honour.

VN: What's the South African race scene like?

RJVR: It's not in a good state; many teams are folding and not enough youngsters are making it through the system.

Three years ago we had four or five professional teams and it looks like next year there will only be two.

VN: 2011 was good for you with wins in Australia and Maroc; but 2012 was at a much higher level - why?

RJVR: I think confidence and belief changed my riding a lot.

I had a good run at the end of the 2011 season at the Sun Tour and Tour of Hainan; I then knew I had what it takes to become professional.

VN: You won the Tour du Bretagne - that's a tough one.

RJVR: Yeah it was a massive surprise; it was really tough with bad weather, wind and steep climbs.

But as the event progressed I started feeling better and better.

At the end it was just enough to tie myself with Eric Berthou on GC, but stage placings awarded me the win.

VN: And you won two stages in the Volta in Portugal - that's renowned as a wild, uncontrolled race . . .

RJVR: Yes, it's got quite a reputation, and with good reason too; the Portuguese start to fly off up the road once the road goes uphill and the mountains are intimidating.

It was once known as the fourth Grand Tour and the people over there are very passionate about it; it’s a pity is doesn't enjoy the same status anymore.

VN: MTN in the Worlds TTT - what was that experience like?

RJVR: Fun!

I really enjoyed it; we prepared hard for it and learnt a lot in a few weeks - it was a great team building experience.

VN: But bad luck in the Worlds individual TT?

RJVR: Yeah things didn't go my way; I set off just as the rain was pouring down and I lost the front wheel on a roundabout after nine kilometres.

Then my spare bike's brakes got jammed by dirt from the rain.

VN: You were DNF in the Worlds road race - what happened?

RJVR: The bad luck continued - I was involved in the big crash with 50km to go.

It was pretty much all over for anyone involved.

VN: I make it 19 wins for you in 2012; which gives you most satisfaction?

RJVR: Yes, but now I’m on 20 wins, if you count Sunday's Momentum 94.7 mile Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg.

The 94.7 win was the most special; I wanted to win for my late father - I am so happy I could dedicate it for him.

VN: You were second to Robbie Hunter in the SA road race champs - is that a goal for 2013?

RJVR: I don't know if I will be in South Africa during the national champs - If I am, it will be a focus.

VN: What's your favourite type of parcours?

RJVR: Something hard; to get rid of, or tire the other sprinters.

VN: Where's your favourite place to race - and why?

RJVR: I liked Australia; it’s similar to South Africa, but with proper UCI racing.

VN: You move to Argos for 2013 - weren't you tempted to stay put, with MTN going up to Pro Continental?

RJVR: Yes, it was a hard decision; I had a great three years with MTN.

But I need to step up into an established team where I can learn, further develop and ride some of the biggest races in the world.

VN: When did the offers from other teams start; and do you have an agent?

RJVR: Yes I have an agent; Jordi Orti from Velofutur. It already started at the end of March after I won the Tour d'Maroc

VN: Why sign with Argos?

RJVR: It’s a young team, with a fresh look. They’re very anti-doping and there also seems to be nice atmosphere.

VN: Are you a little nervous about the move?

RJVR: Off course, but I'm sure I'll fit in; we have our first training camp the second or third week in January in Alicante, Spain

VN: What's your opinion on the Lance Armstrong debacle?

RJVR: The whole situation is unfortunate, but it's good for the future of the sport that the investigators got to the bottom of it, and can rid the sport of the bad people.

VN: What are your goals for 2013?

RJVR: I'll take it as it comes - but I hope I can get a victory soon as possible!


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