The in-form Jacques Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) is looking to continue his current run success at the Tour of Oman. After storming to the South African national road race title - followed by third at the African Championships - earlier this month, Janse Van Rensburg believes that he can take the challenge to the big guns in the overall classification.
“I think a podium is possible. It’s going to be hard for us but I think it is possible if everything goes well,” he told Cyclingnews ahead of the third stage in Al Mussanah. “Louis is looking really good so for the white jersey I think that he has a really good chance. We are definitely going for a podium and the white jersey.
“Myself and Louis had a really good race yesterday. We were going with the really strong guys, Valverde and Majka, so we’re really confident for tomorrow and we can make a really good result for the team.”
Janse van Rensburg has had the Tour of Oman marked in his calendar for some time as a serious season goal. He and Meintjes are currently sitting on the same time, 10 seconds behind the race leader Fabian Cancellara. The pair finished in the front group of 18 riders that rode off the front in the final 20 kilometres. It has been a strong performance all around from MTN-Qhubeka, with Johan van Zyl putting in an impressive effort in the break on day one and Janse van Rensburg is keen to keep it going. “I am really looking forward to tomorrow,” he said.
“I’ve been looking forward to the race since last year when we got the invitation to the race. I always watch the race on the television in South Africa and it is a race that I thought would suit me well and there is perfect weather.”
Onwards and upwards
After suffering with illness in 2013, last season saw Janse van Rensburg make a big breakthrough. He kicked it off with sixth overall at the Tour de Langkawi before winning the overall classification at South African Mzansi Tour, ahead of Meintjes. The year was capped off when he made his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España and went on to gain selection for the World Championships.
The Tour of Oman is the first chance that Janse Van Rensburg has had to show off his new national champion’s jersey since he beat Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) by more than two minutes in Mbombela. The win is undoubtedly the biggest of his career thus far and he hopes that it will spur him on to bigger things in the season to come.
“It’s been really nice to be the national champion and it’s given me some motivation for the rest of the season to do the jersey proud,” he said.
The first half of the season will consist of plenty of travelling for Janse van Rensburg. After Oman, he will return to Langkawi at the beginning of March before heading to France for the start of his European campaign with the Circuit de la Sarthe and Paris-Camembert. Then he will make a short hop over the Atlantic for the Tour of California before returning to France for the Criterium du Dauphiné in June.
With MTN-Qhubeka set to become the first African-registered team at the Tour de France later this year, Janse van Rensburg hopes that it may give him an extra edge. “Definitely my dream since I’ve started cycling is to take part in the Tour de France and this year I’ve got a really big chance to do it and hopefully the jersey helps my chances of getting into the team,” said Janse van Rensburg.
“The team is definitely going to send the strongest nine riders to the race and it doesn’t put me into the squad automatically. Anything can happen from now until then. I just have to keep racing hard and focussing on getting some good results in my races up until the Tour de France and then hopefully I’ll get selected.”