14 April 2014
Jacques Janse van Rensburg capped an excellent week of racing for Team MTN-Qhubeka when he retained the yellow jersey he had earned after the first stage to take the overall victory in South Africa’s Mzansi Tour on the weekend.
Not only did Janse van Rensburg win the yellow jersey for Team MTN-Qhubeka, he also won the Leading African Rider competition, while Louis Meintjes won the King of the Mountains competition and Young Rider Classification.
In addition, Team MTN-Qhubeka also won the team competition and filled the top four places in the general classification, with Janse van Rensburg, Meintjes, Merhawi Kudus and Daniel Teklehaimanot leading the way.
‘The team performed awesomely’
“The team performed awesomely all week, winning the yellow jersey, polka dot jersey, young rider jersey, African jersey and team prize, so it was an awesome week for Team MTN-Qhubeka,” Janse van Rensburg said in a statement after the completion of the Tour.
“For me personally, it is my first big victory after a few years of struggling with some health problems. It was touch and go but I’m glad it got sorted out in October. It was definitely the right step that I took to improve my career and the result that I got here just proved that the best years of my cycling career are still to come.
“There were a few times in my career that I’ve been on the edge of giving up, but I just pulled through on each occasion and it is paying off now.
“This result now gives me a lot of motivation and I’m sure for the team as well, as we head off to Giro del Trentino and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. I think it also improves my chances of getting selected for the Vuelta ]Tour of Spain] a little bit.”
Team Principal Douglas Ryder commented: “The Mzansi Tour was incredibly important for Team MTN-Qhubeka powered by Samsung because, being the only Pro Continental team in the race, as well as being the only Pro Continental team from South Africa and on the continent for that matter, made this South African race very important to us.
“With our sponsors MTN and Samsung also being South African, and who are funding this whole project, made it really important that we brought a really good team to this race to show the level and investment made is paying off.
“If we look at the race performance now, having the first four positions overall, winning four of the five competitions, and the team competition by seven minutes with a team of only six riders, and defending the jersey from literally the first road stage after the prologue, just shows the depth and the quality of the riders and also the investment that is being made in international racing and in Europe is putting them at a higher level.
With an eye towards the future, Ryder added: “Going forward now, since we’ve been invited to the Vuelta just one week ago, Jacques has said in many interviews how important it is for all of them to show what they can do in racing because there is internal competition to be one of those nine riders that goes to the Vuelta.
“The first African team to start a Grand Tour, those riders will be remembered forever, because if someone Googles in 10 or 20 years’ time the transformation of African cycling, where did it start and who were the pioneers, it was those nine guys.”