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Reinhardt enters unknown territory

Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg, MTN-Energade’s most prolific winner on the road for 2010, has competed in every one of the Super Classics, except in the OFM Classic that will take place on Sunday.

It is, therefore, not surprising that Janse van Rensburg readily admits that he has no idea of what to expect on Sunday.

ÔÇ£I think I can win, but I will have to rely on my teammates who had raced the MTN OFM Classic before to tell me when and what to do during the race.ÔÇØ

Free State cycling courses are notoriously flat, almost to the point of distraction, but not so for this race route.┬á It is not flat and certainly not boring. The route goes through the often underestimated city of Bloemfontein and, when on the N1, it continues through some of the countryside’s most beautiful scenery. The last few kilometres are tough because of a climb back to the finish.

A safe prediction would be that the pro-elite race for men would probably again boil down to a battle royal between the teams of MTN-Energade and Team Medscheme.

On paper Team Medscheme seems to be almost invincible, because they have riders who are capable of winning, no matter how the race develops.

If the race should develop into a bunch sprint, the sprinters of the other teams will have their work cut out to outride the current ‘terrible twins’ of South African sprinting, namely Arran Brown and Malcolm Lange. Between the two of them they are able to win sprints to the line from a long way out, as well using quick bursts of speed for short distance sprints during the final few seconds.

There is no doubt that Brown is currently the in-form sprinter. During the past five weeks he won the Campus2Campus, the MTN Amashova and the Jacaranda Satellite.

It will be exciting if the race should turn out to be a battle between this year’s two in-form sprinters, namely Janse van Rensburg and Brown, especially because this battle will not be repeated for quite a number of years.┬á From next year Brown will also be riding for MTN-Energade.

If there should be no breakaway early during the race, the MTN OFM could well turn out to be the unofficial SA championship for sprinters, with Janse van Rensburg, Brown, Lange, Christoff van Heerden (MTN-Energade), Tyler Day (EMG) and Michael Pepper (House of Paint) being the main contenders.

If a small breakaway should be successful, Team Medscheme might benefit, because it is very likely that Johann Rabie, a former OFM winner, Hanco Kachelhoffer and Neil MacDonald would all be in the group.

Kachelhoffer, who matriculated at Grey Kollege, is outspoken about the fact that the MTN OFM Classic, in front of his home supporters, is the one race that he really wants to win.

Actually, the MTN OFM Classic could turn out to be a love affair on wheels if Kachelhoffer should win the men’s race and An-Li Pretorius (MTN-Energade) the women’s race. They are one of South Africa’s top cycling couples.

Sunday will be the last time this year that Janse van Rensburg will compete in a local Classic. Next week he will be off to Rwanda to represent South Africa at the African Road Championship and the eight-day Tour of Rwanda.

Janse van Rensburg made it clear that he will do his very best to win the road race.

ÔÇ£If I understand correctly, the race will consist of 12-kilometre laps. During each lap we will be challenged by a short, steep climb of about two kilometers. If that is the case, it will suit me to a tee.

ÔÇ£During the Tour of Rwanda my role will be reduced to that of a ‘domestic’ because of the serious climbing that we will be expected to do.┬á We will have to climb 16 000 metres during eight days which means, theoretically, that we will ride up Mount Everest twice.ÔÇØ

Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN-Energade) who finished second overall last year, hopes to do one better this time.  However, he will not represent South Africa as he is a Rwandan citizen.