Reinardt Janse van Rensburg was in the thick of things at a rainy Rund Om Koln bike race in Germany, writes Mark Etheridge.
It was South African based MTN-Qhubeka outfit’s second race in Europe, having raced in Belgium a few days prior to that.
Janse van Rensburg, the side’s premier cyclist in recent times, took a tumble during the 196.7-kilometre race but was up and racing quickly enough to finish in the bunch.
Pretoria’s Van Rensburg says the race was a big learning curve for the SA riders. “It was around 4C┬áand rain non-stop. Not something any of us are used to. Being a bike rider isn’t easy anyway, so with no complaints we got our rain gear on and set off for a 200km trek around Cologne.
“The race itself was quite┬átechnical, with a lot of short and very steep hills and twisty roads although the final 45km was on flat roads. Many moves tried to get away in the beginning and the bunch split on the hills and gutters a number of times only to rejoin.
At about 80km an 11-man move rode┬áclear, most of the big teams had riders in the front, with the exception of┬áSaxobank. As the speed dropped in the peloton the weather really started to effect the riders. I can’t remember ever being that cold on my bike before. I remember just hoping the race would become hard so I can warm up a little.
“Saxobank┬áchased for a while, but everybody lacked motivation┬áand the break was left to run clear. We didn’t have a rider in front and with the gap at 4mins┬áwith 40km remaining we wanted to try to bring it back. But as the call was made, bad luck struckÔÇª I hooked bars with my teammate, Bradley [Potgieter], and went down. I got up and dragged myself to the finish in the bunch.
“By the time we got the finishing circuit the break had a big enough advantage, to force the bunch to stop and let the break ride past, as the break was nearly a full lap ahead. Jan Barta┬áof Team Netapp managed to ride solo in the last 45km to the line to take the win.”
On his tumble to the tarmac, Janse Van Rensburg says he got off lightly. “I am lucky to have no major injuries, just a few cuts on my chin and cheek and a few roasties┬áhere and there.”
But the All Africa Games time trial champion has time on his side to recover from his fall. “Our next race will only be next Saturday, the Arno Wallaard in Holland.”