Janse van Rensburg wins Cycle Challenge in memory of late father
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg wrapped up his season with an emotional victory in the men’s race while Sharon Laws became the first non-South African to win the women’s event at the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Janse van Rensburg, riding in memory of his late father, crossed the finish line in two hours, 10 minutes, 19 seconds (2:10:19).
Johann Rabie of Team Bonitas was two seconds behind and Janse van Rensburg’s MTN Qhubeka teammate, defending champion Arran Brown, was a further six seconds back in third place.
“This was an emotional win for me,” Janse van Rensburg said.
“My dad passed away two weeks ago and he played a big role in my cycling. He was the reason I started cycling.
“He was so proud of all my achievements this year and I really wanted to win this last one for him.
“In the last kilometre I decided it was the moment to go, I got a gap and maintained my lead till the finish.”
Janse van Rensburg performed well both locally and internationally this year, bagging 14 international titles which included the Ronde van Zeeland in the Netherlands.
He also dominated local races by winning the Cape Argus Cycle Tour in March, the Berge en Dale Classic and the national time-trial title.
He became the second rider to win both the Cape Argus and the Cycle Challenge in the same year.
“I couldn’t have dreamed for the season I’ve had,” he said.
“I’ve won two big races in South Africa — the Cape Argus and the Cycle Challenge — and 14 other international races. It has been great.
“I never imagined it would all end like this.”
Teammate Brown, who won both races in 2009, congratulated Janse van Rensburg on his victory.
“The race went well for us. Our team took first and third,” Brown said.
“The pace was really fast and was intense and at the end Reinardt went really hard with one kilometre to go.
“For him to take the victory today is fantastic and I’m really happy for him.”
Laws won the women’s race in 2:39:34 and fellow British rider Catherine Williamson, of Team Bizhub, finished second, nearly six minutes behind.
Former champion Cherise Stander, the first South African, took third place in 2:45:10.