Van Rensburg riding for his father
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, one of South Africa's most successful road cyclists this season, will be racing in memory of his father when he lines up at the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg on Sunday.
“If it were not for him, I might never have become involved in cycling," Janse van Rensburg said of his father Anton, who died last week.
“When I was 13 my dad bought me my first bicycle for Christmas. Since then, he has been my biggest fan."
Janse van Rensburg said his father had been a keen cyclist himself and encouraged him to start racing.
"When I became serious about the sport, it was my dad who drove hours on end to get me to races," he said.
“At times when I doubted my abilities as a cyclist, it was my dad who encouraged and motivated me to persevere. I owe so much of my success to him."
The MTN-Qhubeka rider won 14 international races this season, including the Ronde van Zeeland in the Netherlands, where he outsprinted Lars Boom of Team Rabobank.
Only Peter Sagan (Liquigas), Mark Cavendish (Sky) and Any Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) won more international races this season than the 23-year-old South African.
Second in the Johannesburg race last year, Van Rensburg won the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour in March, and he is looking to become the first rider since teammate Arran Brown, in 2009, to win both races in the same year.
Van Rensburg, however, believed he would have a better chance if the 94.7 kilometres race was longer, with most races in Europe contested over 150km or more.
“It is pity that we race over such short distances in South Africa”, he said.
He was nonetheless eager to cap off his season with a victory at the race.
“Winning the 94.7 Cycle Challenge will really be special.
"I will consider it as one of the most important victories of my entire cycling career.”