Johannesburg – MTN-Qhubeka's Jacques Janse van Rensburg was crowned the champion of the second edition of the Mzansi Tour when the race wrapped up with a criterium won by HB Kruger from the Bonitas Pro Cycling team in Midrand, Johannesburg, on Saturday.
The Mzansi tour organisers decided to exclude Saturday's 25 laps of 3.2km's criterium results from the overall standings, after last-minute changes were made to stage four's original format due to safety issues.
Janse van Rensburg triumphed in a time of 11 hours 32 minutes and 6 seconds (11:32.06) after taking the overall leader's yellow jersey on Wednesday.
The talented climber said the win had lifted his confidence, and believed the rest of the season would go well.
“This win is really important. It shows my recovery from a few off years,” Janse van Rensburg said after the Tour concluded on Saturday.
“It has lifted my confidence to about 200 percent now and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the season with team MTN-Qhubeka.
“The week for us was generally amazing – winning the overall race, the KOM jersey, young rider's jersey, African jersey and the team prize. It couldn't have gone better for us and it was a wonderful week back in our home country.”
Teammate Louis Meintjes was just 43 seconds behind him in the overall standings and was followed by another MTN-Qhubeka rider, Merhawi Kudus.
Janse van Rensburg was also crowned the best Africa rider, while Meintjes walked away with the King of Mountain (KOM) jersey as well as the best young rider jersey. Team Abantu's Nolan Hoffman won the Points jersey, while the MTN-Qhubeka team was crowned the best team on the tour.
The tour started on Tuesday with a 5.5km team time trial prologue (TTT), which was won by Rapha Condor's Kristian House. It then moved to Clarens in the Free State for the 140km first stage, won by Janse van Rensburg.
Thursday's second stage took riders across a 155km route, which started in Clarens and ended with a mountain-top finish at the Golden Gate National Park, easily won by Meintjes.
Bonitas Pro Cycling team's Herman Fouche won the third stage, which started in Bethlehem and finished in Vanderbijlpark, on Friday.
Janse van Rensburg admitted that the tour was challenging this year.
“The tour was a bit hard, and had a lot of hard stages.
“Being at altitude also made it a bit harder and all the teams came out to challenge.
“I think if the tour another stage or two, this will be a world-class tour. The organisation is already world-class compared to some tours I've been to in Europe and I can see that the tour will get better each year.” – Sapa