20 November 2012
Over 25 000 riders took to the roads of Johannesburg on Sunday, with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg capturing the men’s title in the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge and Sharon Laws becoming the first non-South African to win the women’s race.
The Cycle Challenge was, however, the last race for Janse van Rensburg with MTN Qhubeka. After an excellent season, he has signed a two-year contract with the Netherlands-based Team Argos-Shimano.
It was an emotional victory for the 23-year-old, who crossed the finishing line in two hours, 10 minutes, and 19 seconds; he rode the race in memory of his father, who had passed away two weeks before the event.
The MTN Qhubeka star’s results in 2012 have included winning the national time trial title, becoming only the second rider after his team-mate Arran Brown to win the Cycle Challenge and Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour in the same year, and 14 overseas victories.
Those overseas wins include the overall title in the Tour de Bretagne, the Ronde van Overijssel, the Circuit de Wallonie and the Ronde van Zeeland, as well as the points’ title in the Tour of Portugal. Little wonder then that he has been signed up by an overseas team.
Second place went to Johann Rabie of Team Bonitas, two second behind the winner, with defending champion Arran Brown of MTN Qhubeka in third a further six seconds off the pace.
British road racing champion Sharon Laws, who was a controversial omission from the British team for the London Olympics, convincingly ended Ashley Moolman-Pasio’s bid to become the first rider to win the Argus, the South African Road Championship, the African Continental Championship and the Cycle Challenge in the same year.
Laws, who recently signed with Momentum Toyota, South Africa’s leading women’s professional road race team, took the fight to the rest of the field, breaking away with 50 kilometres to go, and going on to win by over five minutes in a time of two hours, 39 minutes and 34 seconds.
Fellow Brit, Catherine Williamson of team bizhub FCF claimed second place, with South African time trial champion, Cherise Stander (Momentum Toyota), the 2010 Cycle Challenge winner in third place in her last competitive road race for the foreseeable future. From next year she will follow in the footsteps of her husband, Burry, and concentrate on mountain biking.
‘It was great to win’
“It was great to win today for my new team. We went into the race with no chosen leader, but decided to make the pace as hard as possible. I was just fortunate that my move stuck and I was the one that could win today,” Laws said afterwards.
“I’m not a great sprinter and breakaways suit me better. It wasn’t planned that I’d go so far out though, but when I realised I was making good progress over the hills and into a rather disconcerting headwind, I just kept at it.
“Although I had a long solo ride, I must thank my teammates for their role in my win. It was most certainly very much a team success today.”
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio had said she was tired when she returned from the African Continental Cycling Championships on Burkina Faso on Wednesday, but she nonetheless managed fourth place ahead of Joanna van de Winkel, giving Momentum Toyota four of the top five finishers.
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