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  1. Both Janse van Rensburg and Venter had backgrounds in mountain biking before joining the professional road circuit in 2012, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to shift focus back to mountain biking at the end of their international road careers. Testament to the calibre of these athletes, First Move Sport is hugely excited and proud to partner with some of the leading brands in cycling that share the same vision and objectives. Trek South Africa has been on board from the onset and has proven a phenomenal partner and resource. The company’s support has been unwavering, and the team is well poised for 2020 with world-class bikes and equipment. Frank Oliveira, Country Manager for Trek Bicycle Corporation, explains “At Trek, we build only products we love, provide incredible hospitality to our customers, and change the world by getting more people on bikes. We are excited to partner with Jacques and Jaco as they take on this new journey in their careers. We will offer them world-class bikes and accessories to take on the best races South Africa has to offer. Their work with Qhubeka not only exemplifies their commitment to getting more people on bikes but also showcases their humble nature. Simply put, they are Trek people and we welcome them to be part of the Trek story.” The go-to bike for the 2020 season will be the recently released Supercaliber 9.9 XX1 AXS trimmed with all the best Bontrager equipment available. Janse van Rensburg and Venter will also have the Madone SLR 7 Disc and Emonda SLR 7 Disc in their arsenal for select road races during the season. With many hours being spent on the bike each season, quality cycling kit is a necessity. The decision to partner with Ciovita was an obvious choice with their focus on pushing the boundaries of comfort and performance. “We are thrilled to have riders as globally experienced as Jacques and Jaco in our performance cycling apparel. We pride ourselves in creating cycling kit that stands up to the challenges of local and international races; something that can only be achieved through continuous research and refinement. Both Jacques and Jaco’s feedback on our kit will be incredibly valuable to our on-going mission of creating kit that performs with every pedal stroke. They will be racing and training predominantly in our Supremo and range-topping Apex Series gear, and we are excited to follow their careers as they test their limits, and ours, against the best in the business” said Freddie Enslin. Qhubeka Charity has always been an exceptional cause for both riders, and one that has featured throughout their professional careers. The global non-profit based in South Africa works to help people and communities move forward with bicycles. Both athletes share Qhubeka’s belief that bicycles change lives and are proud to continue their association with, and be ambassadors for Qhubeka. They will now continue their support in the professional mountain biking space. “We have watched and cheered as Jacques and Jaco took on races at the highest levels of road cycling, and will be proud to support them as they make their mark in mountain biking. We appreciate their continued support of Qhubeka, and believe that together we can keep changing more lives with bicycles.” commented Anthony Fitzhenry, Founder of Qhubeka. The first race for the pair will be the Momentum Health Attakwas Extreme MTB Challenge, taking place over 121km from Oudtshoorn to Groot Brak in the Western Cape. The race is widely regarded as South Africa’s toughest one-day mountain bike race, and “The Hell of the South.” Having raced “The Hell of the North” (also known as Paris-Roubaix), Venter had this to say “Paris Roubaix is the toughest one-day race in the world and a race that I will never forget. Riders consistently fighting for position at the start of each cobble section, and then hoping to avoid crashes in front of you through the dust. The race is very hard on your body and your equipment, and it’s a race of survival for many of us.” “From the Attakwas war stories I’ve heard over the years, there are many similarities to Paris Roubaix. Good position in the important sections, reliable equipment and having enough left at the finish will be the determining factors on Saturday” added Venter. Janse van Rensburg added “Having raced Attakwas and The Absa Cape Epic before, I know how hard mountain biking is on the body. My pre-season training has all been on the mountain bike, and in search of the roughest trails I can find.” “Jaco and I have raced consistently at the highest level possible for many years, and we’re hoping to continue in the mountain biking space. We have and will always be committed to racing, and being passionate ambassadors for all the brands that support us,” concluded Janse van Rensburg. JACQUES JANSE VAN RENSBURG 6 Grand Tours 105 Grand Tour Stages 76,520km raced as a Professional 267km Longest Race 5th most capped South African 8 World Tour Monuments 2015 South African National Road Race Champ JACO VENTER 7 Grand Tours 147 Grand Tour stages 85,978km raced as a Professional 293km Longest race 4th most capped South African 10 World Tour Monuments 2016 South African National Road Race Champ
  2. Photo credit: Scott Mitchell. You have been incredibly successful in your career, and stand as a source of inspiration to young South African riders. What helped you make the leap from South Africa to international racing: was there a specific moment or turning point? Not a specific point but I think when I started racing in Europe at Junior level and saw that I could ride with the best the world in my age group it gave me confidence and motivation to work hard and try and be a professional at the highest level. What lessons have you learned along the way and do you have any advice for young South African riders looking to make a career out of road racing? There will be a lot of obstacles along the way but I would say get as much European experience as you can , as early as possible after school. Your team suffered several setbacks during the build up to the Tour, and during the racing: especially losing Mark Cavendish to a crash on stage 4. How did these setbacks affect team morale, and how did you get over it? Yes we had some crashes and illnesses leading up to the tour but I think that’s normal in this sport and we just moved on. Losing Mark so early was a big loss for us, as there were so many sprint stages still left in the tour. Luckily we still had a good leadout team there, and a strong group of riders so we just kept on fighting. We were always up there, so that kept the motivation high. Photo credit: Scott Mitchell. There were a lot of crashes in the Tour this year. Do you think riders are risking more in the quest for victory, or is simply a case of business as usual? Is there anything you can do in the peloton to stay safe or do you just hope you are lucky? This year some riders already crashed out on the first day, but that was mainly because of the rain and obviously taking a few extra risks, but other than that I think it was similar to previous years. It’s a stressful race and everyone wants to be in a good position all the time, so crashes will always happen. We saw Steve Cummings crashing hard and he was right at the back of the bunch where you would think it’s the safest. I think there’s not much you can do other than hope you are lucky and in the right place at the right time. Are you doing anything differently this year in terms of training? Not really, I have the same coach as last year. After Tour Down Under I got sick and we found out I had Epstein Barr virus so I had to take some weeks off. That affected my build up a bit, but luckily I didn’t miss that much racing because of it. What was your role in the team at the Tour de France, and how much did that change with Cavendish and Renshaw having to abandon the Tour? Is there much flexibility within the team to adapt as the race progresses? With Cavendish there I knew I would have to spend a lot of time on the front pulling back breakaways, but after losing him I didn’t have to start pulling from early on, and so had to help with other things like getting bottles and helping the protected rider for the stage to stay as fresh as possible, and then when we got closer to finish help in the leadout train. We always had to keep an eye out at the start of the stages as well to make sure the breakaway wasn’t too big and if it was too big make sure we had someone in there. So we always had to adapt to the situations on the road. How do you see your role within the team changing and progressing with your career? I always try and progress every year in whatever I have to do. We have some good race winners in our team and I like to support them to the best of my abilities and take my chances where it's possible. Photo credit: Scott Mitchell. You’ve come nail bitingly close to victory from breakaways in the Vuelta and the Giro. What sort of stage suits your style of riding? Does the team target these through the race? I like to take opportunities in breakaways as I'm not really a climber or a sprinter and these are my best chances to get a result. Breakaways are difficult to stay away and the team always targets the days when we think have the best chance to stay away. Then you just try as hard as you can to stay away and save something for the end. What are your plans for the remainder of the season, will we be seeing you at the Vuelta a España? No Vuelta for me this year. For the moment I'm doing Artic race of Norway next in middle August. After that two single day races in Canada, Montreal and Quebec ending off with a few Italian races. My season will normally end in the middle of October. What was a particular highlight for you from the 2017 Tour? There were a few special moments in the Tour, the first road stage in Dusseldorf was a special day, I spent most of the day on the front pulling back the breakaway. It was unbelievable to see all the people on the roads. The day Edvald won was definitely a highlight, he was in the breakaway so we didn’t really help him to win but after trying and getting so close in all the other stages it was just awesome to finally get a win in the team.Then obviously riding into Paris on the last day: I got goosebumps riding onto the cobbles on the Champs-Élysées. What was your darkest moment during the Tour? I had a hard day in the alps but other than that I was mostly enjoying it. What was the first thing you did after the tour that you were not able to do during the race? Had a braai. Photo credit: Scott Mitchell.
  3. South African National Elite Men’s Champion, Jaco Venter is looking forward to defending his title in his own backyard at the 2017 SA National Road Championships in the Western Cape from 7-12 February. Click here to view the article
  4. The Team Dimension Data rider said: “It would be great to defend my title at nationals this year, but if I can’t, as long as it’s someone from our team I'll be happy.” South African National Elite Men’s Champion, Jaco Venter is looking forward to defending his title in his own backyard at the 2017 SA National Road Championships in the Western Cape from 7-12 February. Photo: Cycling SA He is also hoping for a great few months ahead in Europe. “Starting with Catalunya, then onto the hilly classics and hopefully then making it into the Tour de France team,” he added. The Cape Town local says that it’s something special to have the National Championships in the region. “I regularly train out to the Wellington side, so it’s like a home nationals, which I haven’t had in a really long time,” he said. Reflecting on 2016, Venter feels that what he has learnt most about himself in the year is his ability to forget the suffering endured, and how excited and motivated he becomes for each new season. Venter is currently taking part in the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia from 14-22 January. On the Tour, Venter said: “Down Under is always a tricky and hard race because of its high level. It’s my first race of the season as well. I never know what to expect after the training I’ve been doing. I’ve been feeling good on the bike and we've got a good team here so its been great so far and we’re hoping to get onto the podium on the GC with Nathan Haas. We’ve got two more difficult stages so we’ll see how it goes.” Entries for the 2017 SA National Road Championships are open and close on Wednesday 25 January. To enter, click here: https://cyclingsa-events.co.za/app/ For more information about the 2017 SA National Road Championships, route maps and accommodation, click here: https://www.cyclingsa.com/2017-sa-road-champs/
  5. The 186km stage from Foligno to Arezzo didn't start off in the best way for our African Team as our GC hope, Kanstantsin Siutsou crashed inside the first 6km of the stage. Thankfully Siutsou was able to pick himself up and got back to the peloton with the help of his teammates. After 15km's of racing, riders started a technical descent while the rain came down. It was here that the break of the day went clear and Venter made the selection with 12 other riders. The big lead group were able to ride ahead into a 5-minute lead as Giant-Alpecin tried to control the gap. The main feature of the stage was the 6km dirt road climb that topped out with just 19km to go. The break reached the climb with a 3-minute lead and Brambilla rode away from the rest of the break right from the begining of the climb. Venter rode an intelligent race and kept a constantly hard tempo going on the dirt. Behind, the main group also sprung to life as they reached the climb and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was the one to attack and split the race to pieces. Siutsou did his best to follow the favourites but found himself in the 2nd group for the majority of the climb. Up ahead, Brambilla was out of sight and out of mind while Venter went over the top of the climb with 3 of the other early breakaway riders, the rest were all caught and passed by the Valverde group of favourites. At the finish, Brambilla took a nice win and also pulled on the pink leader’s jersey for his efforts. Venter was able to hold off the Valverde group on the descent to the finish and crossed the line in a terrific 4th place. Siutsou came home with the 2nd main group and dropped to 17th on the general classification but the top 10 is still only 30 seconds away. I am super happy about today, it was a hard start. There was storm at the start and I wasn't planning on going in the break, I was just riding in front to stay safe. I saw some groups going on the downhill and I just followed the wheels and then I was in the group. It was hard because there was a group that contained Nibali just behind us so we had to push for the first hour. We got a gap and worked well, some guys were taking some chances but we rode well. I knew the climb as we rode it in recon a few weeks ago but I wasn't expecting to stay away. I wasn't feeling too good at the start of the climb but as it went on I felt better. Over the top I was in 5th or 6th, with a small group. On the descent I did some crazy Moto GP riding and was able to race for 3rd place from a group, and I ended 2nd from that group and 4th on the stage which I am really happy about. Jaco Venter - Rider
  6. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were part of the early action on today's 174km stage from Moudan to Morgins. Our South African champion, Jaco Venter, broke away inside the first 20km of the stage with 5 other riders. Venter and his companions combined well to forge out a gap of 5 minutes over the Movistar led peloton. The main features of the stage only came in the final 22km though. Riders would first take on the cat 2 climb to Les Champs before a short descent and then the final 9km cat 1 climb to Morgins. Venter had ridden well in the break but the big GC teams of Sky, Movistar and FDJ all ensured the final showdown would be between their leaders on these final 2 climbs. As we approached the cat 2 climb, our African Team were looking to deliver Merhawi Kudus to a good position. Venter and the other breakaway riders were reeled in on the lower slopes while Kudus and Natnael Berhane were looking good on the positive gradient. It was only a small group of around 40 riders that went over the top of the penultimate climb together. The final climb was attacked with some venom by the lead group and the telling move came when Quintana and Zakarin got away with 5km to go. The chase blew the race to bits and each rider was then on their own. Kudus hung on for as long as he could, but got distanced near the top. Our Eritrean still rode hard to the line and came home 21st, 1'33" after Quintana and Zakarin. Berhane also had a solid ride on this tough mountain stage, finishing 38th. It was a really hard stage. We got Jaco into the break which was obviously part of our plan today. He obviously did a superb ride and it was great to get the South African jersey in the break. It was a good test for his legs and a nice workout before the Giro. He showed he has the condition so it was nice to have the team and South African colours on T.V. for most of the day. Obviously when that came back together the main aim was to put Kanstantsin Siutsou, Merhawi and Natnael in a good position but it was very difficult to do that. From the result Merhawi showed how good he is and how good his legs are. The others had to fight maybe a bit too much to get into position, the roads were really narrow particularly that descent from the cat 2 to the final climb. It was interesting to see some big name riders getting dropped. It is a hard race and it's still cold up here so to see Merhawi up there and leading that group across the line, it looks good for the Giro. For tomorrow's TT we will see how we go with Siutsou and Cameron Meyer but in all, we are happy with today after Merhawi and Jaco's good rides. Oli Cookson - Sport Director
  7. Jaco Venter (Dimension Data for Qhubeka) delivered a 10 kilometre solo charge to claim the victory in the 170km Elite Men’s road race at the 2016 SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships in Westville, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday 14 February. Photo credit: Darren Goddard Venter, who celebrated his 29th birthday yesterday, was in the first breakaway of the day with RoadCover Cycling Team’s Clint Hendricks (25) at only 23 kilometres, which was closed down at the start of the third lap. The next decisive move was when the Dimension Data for Qhubeka duo of Songezo Jim (25) and defending champion Jacques Janse van Rensburg (28) launched an attack, with 20-year-old Kent Main (RoadCover Cycling Team) and 25-year-old Calvin Beneke (RoadCover Cycling Team) joining them, creating a gap of over five-and-a-half minutes halfway into the race. Janse van Rensburg and Jim’s relentless pace saw Main pop off the lead group as they continued to drive a hard pace with Beneke, increasing the gap to over seven minutes. Janse van Rensburg had used this same tactic last year at the National Championships in Mpumalanga, where he won. Jacques Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data for Qhubeka) and Calvin Beneke held a lead gap of about seven minutes at the 2016 SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships in Westville, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday 14 February. Photo credit: Darren Goddard In the remaining 45 kilometres, Louis Meintjes (Lampre Merida) and Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE) charged hard to close the gap to the leaders and at the start of the final 18-kilometre lap, the gap had narrowed to 51 seconds with only Janse van Rensburg and Beneke in the front. No sooner had the race regrouped when Jaco Venter attacked at 10 kilometres to go and managed to pull a 40-second gap on the peloton. With determination, he retained his lead with impressive power up the final climb until the end to be crowned the 2016 South African National Road Champion for the first time in his career! “In the beginning my chain fell off and I ripped my derailleur off and did a quick bike change at the bottom and chased back,” said Venter. “There were a few moves and I attacked but it wasn't really a good move for us as there was only one of us in the team. A few of the guys came across but we weren’t really committed so we fell back into the group. The Jacques and Songezo went and that was a pretty good move, I thought that was going to stay away but Daryl and Louis were quite impressive to bring it back. And when we got back, we all knew that we had to go now and I was happy to get the right move in.” In the remaining 45km of the 170km race, Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Louis Meintjes (Lampre Merida) charged hard to close the seven-minute gap to the leaders at the 2016 SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships in Westville, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday 14 February. Photo credit: Darren Goddard Venter crossed the line in 03:58:35, with U23 Time Trial Champion Stefan de Bod (Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental) claiming second overall and first U23 (03:58:59), followed by Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data for Qhubeka) in 03:59:02, Hendricks, Jayde Julius (Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental), Meintjes and Impey. De Bod said: “Unfortunately I missed the first break today and it was part of my job to be in the breakaway, but it wasn’t a bad thing. I think this route suits me as I won the Junior title here in 2014 on the exact same route. I’m very excited to get the break with the team to race in Europe, I’ve been wanting this my whole cycling career.” Reinardt Janse van Rensburg said: “Everything went the way we planned and we are very happy with the result. Jaco winning and Stefan taking the U23s was fantastic but today we had quite a big advantage with the numbers and fortunately we could finish it off.” Dimension Data for Qhubeka Team Principal, Douglas Ryder, said: “I knew it was going to be the hardest National Championship for us to win. It was going to take a full team effort for it to happen. For a guy like Jaco to win is incredible, he’s the nicest guy and is always working in support of other riders so for him to pull it off and wear the National Jersey for the year is fantastic. Daryl and Louis were unbelievable today and they kept the pressure on, but it’s the fourth year now that we take the jersey to Europe.” Ryder was also impressed with De Bod’s performance. “He is a phenomenal rider and I’m so happy for him.” The cool 07:00 start of the 170km Elite Men's race before the weather heated up to the high 30s at the 2016 SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships in Westville, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday 14 February. Photo credit: Darren Goddard U23 Time Trial Champion Stefan de Bod (Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental) fist pumps to celebrate his victory in the U23 category and second overall in the 170km race at the 2016 SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships in Westville, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday 14 February. Photo credit: Darren Goddard The Dimension Data for Qhubeka Team and Continental team will be taking 23 African riders to Europe – 13 in the WorldTour Team and 10 in the development feeder team – which shows how committed the team is to Africa cycling. “We’re building the bridge between Africa and Europe; our guys will race 88 days in Europe.”Lampre Merida’s Louis Meintjes said: “It was always going to be a scenario where we had to do a lot of work and it turned out exactly like that but Dimension Data played it well and they always had the advantage and congrats to Jaco.” Clint Hendricks had his best Road Champs results in his career: “It was a good race – the first breakaway wasn’t planned, it was unexpected and too early, so I eased up a bit. Closer to the finish and with the adrenalin pumping I went full gas with Bradley and then Stefan attacked. When Daryl, Reinie and Louis started sprinting and then Reinie beat me at the end. I’m pretty happy to be the third Elite and fourth overall.” The Elite Men's podium from left: Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data for Qhubeka) 2nd, Jaco Venter (Dimension Data for Qhubeka) 1st, and Clint Hendricks (RoadCover Cycling Team) 3rd at the 2016 SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships in Westville, KwaZulu-Natal, on Sunday 14 February. Photo credit: Darren Goddard For further event information, please visit http://www.cyclingsa.com/2016-sa-road-champs/ Full results can be downloaded here: http://www.cyclingsa.com/s/20160214_Road-Race-Elite-and-under-23.pdf Summary of Results – 2016 SA National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships – Sunday 14 February 2016 ROAD RACEElite Men (170km) 1.Jaco Venter 03:58:35 2.Reinardt Janse van Rensburg 03:59:02 3.Clint Hendricks 03:59:02 4.Jayde Julius 03:59:02 5.Louis Meintjes 03:59:02 6.Daryl Impey 03:59:03 7.Paul van Zweel 03:59:06 8.Bradley Potgieter 03:59:09 9.Nicolas Dougall 03:59:39 10.Luthando Kaka 04:00:53 U23 Men (170km) 1.Stefan de Bod 03:58:59 2.Ryan Gibbons 03:59:09 3.Morne van Niekerk 03:59:16 4.Keagan Girdlestone 03:59:24 5.Chris Jooste 03:59:26 6.Graeme Ockhuis 04:00:28 7.Nicol Carstens 04:01:36 8.Carl Bonthuys 04:01:36 9.Jaco Pelser 04:01:37 10.Wian-David Slabbert 04:01:37
  8. Jaco Venter (Dimension Data for Qhubeka) delivered a 10 kilometre solo charge to claim the victory in the Elite Men’s road race at the 2016 South African National Road, Time Trial and Para-cycling Championships in a hot and humid Westville, KwaZulu-Natal, today. Click here to view the article
  9. It was a hotly contested race in every sense with riders having to deal with temperatures of around 40 degrees centigrade in Westville, Durban. From the gun there were numerous attacks, most of them initiated by the Dimension Data for Qhubeka World Tour and Continental team riders. It was only after 50km of racing that the main break of the day was formed though. Our defending champion Jacques Janse van Rensburg was joined by teammate Songezo Jim, Calvin Beneke (Panda) and Kent Main (Road Cover). The quartet had built up a lead of 7 minutes with around 70km to go, before Daryl Impey (Orica-Greenedge) and Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida) began what was in essence, a 2-man time trial chase effort with the rest of the peloton sitting on. The peloton drastically thinned out under the pressure of Impey and Meintjes. The break felt the effects of the heat and the increased tempo behind too, as first Main dropped and then Jim also returned back to the peloton. Impey and Meintjes kept a consistently hard tempo going, reducing the advantage with each passing kilometer until the gap to Janse van Rensburg and Beneke was at 2'00" with 30km to go. At this point, the attacks from the Dimension Data for Qhubeka World Tour and Continental riders in the now 25 rider chase group began. Meintjes and Impey couldn't follow the violent surges in acceleration by our African Team riders but would just claw the attackers back on each occasion until even Janse van Rensburg and Beneke were caught with 14km to go. Dimension Data for Qhubeka would not stop attacking though and it was at 10km to go that Venter countered a move by our continental rider Jayde Julius, going solo in his bid for glory. Glory he would eventually have as Impey and Meintjes were all but spent. Our recently crowned u23 national time trial champion, Stefan de Bod put in attack with 4km to go, to cross the line alone in 2nd overall but as the new u23 National Champion of South Africa. The select group sprint for 3rd was won by Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, giving Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka the top 3 steps on the overall podium. Ryan Gibbons from our continental team also took 2nd place in the u23 race. Obviously it is an awesome feeling to be national champion. I have tried for a few years to win the championships so it is good to finally have done it. At the start of the race we all had a green card from the team to go for the win so the team was really motivated. In the beginning we worked really well, we were always on the front foot and in all the moves. Jacques and Songezo got into a good move that I thought was going to stay away but Daryl and Louis were just so strong. From there we just had to take control again with a few attacks, I went with about 10km to go, got a gap and just gave it my all. It worked and I am really happy to have taken the win. Jaco Venter - Rider That made me go slightly ride. Jaco was amazing. It is so nice that you got a guy who is always riding in support of someone else, who wins. Then to have Stefan jump away there at the end and Reinie take it from the bunch, it was a fantastic day for us. Daryl and Louis though, they were absolutely incredible though and made the racing really hard. Doug Ryder - Team Principle
  10. The 2016 South African National Road Championships saw Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka put in a clinical team performance with Jaco Venter being crowned the new National Champion of South Africa. Click here to view the article
  11. The 20th stage of the Vuelta a Espana would be won by Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) after a 110km solo breakaway. Jose Goncalves (Caja-Rural) was 2nd and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing) was 3rd. Click here to view the article
  12. The stage saw a big breakaway of 38 riders go clear on the slopes of the first climb of the day. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had Jaco Venter represented in the move while also in the group was David Arroyo (Caja-Rural). The Spaniard was around 7 minutes behind our Louis Meintjes and so we had to keep the break in check. This promoted Plaza to attack the leaders with 110km to go, a brave move that proved successful. The race behind though was thrilling to say the least as Fabio Aru (Astana) went all in to win the Vuelta overall, attacking race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) on the penultimate climb. This put all the GC contenders on high alert as Dumoulin was put in real trouble for the first time. Louis only needed to be concerned with the riders nearest to him on GC and so he followed the wheel of the 11th placed Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale). Aru managed to open up a substantial gap on Dumoulin who indecently was in Louis group. There was nothing Dumoulin could do as Aru had teammates drop back from the big early break to help the Italian ride into the leaders jersey. 13 of the original breakaway riders managed to stay clear of the GC contenders but Louis 36th place on the stage means he is poised to finish 10th overall in Madrid tomorrow. After 3 weeks a very tough Vuelta comes to an end with only the final stage in Madrid left. It's very seldom that the GC contenders are so close to one another at this point of a grand tour, so it made today very interesting and fascinating to watch. From our side we were part of the big break with Jaco in the initial move of 11 riders that was later joined by another big breakaway group. Unfortunately a Caja-Rural rider who was only 7 minutes behind Louis was in this move so we had to keep the break under control from the peloton. We had to pace for about 40km before the real action started and Louis was on top of his game and made sure he didn't lose anytime to his closest adversaries. He stays 10th on the GC which is an incredible result for our team. Jens Zemke - Head of Performance
  13. The race started to unfold after only a couple of kilometres when five riders got away. Jaco was one of them. The group worked well together to establish a maximum lead of more then 5 minutes. Maxime Bouet (Etixx-QuickStep) was fastest over the climb and remained the man to watch at the front. With 75 kilometres remaining Giant-Alpecin and Trek increased the pace in the peloton and started to whittle down the gap to the leaders. They tried to keep the five in sight. Nevertheless, it started to look good for the break the closer the race got to the finish. The gap was at 2 minutes just 20 kilometres to go and the breakaway riders showed no signs of attacking each other. The tension at the front grew only in the final 3 kilometres. Bouet shut down the first attack, when Jaco made his move under the Flamme Rouge. It seemed that he could pull it off, but the peloton closed in fast. The Stellenbosch native was reeled in with 500 meters to go. Danny van Poppel (Trek) was the fastest at the end, beating Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) and Tosh van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) into second and third. Kristian Sbaragli was the team’s best placed finisher in 8th position. Fabio Aru (Astana) kept his lead in the GC, with Louis Meintjes staying safe in 10th position. We wanted to get someone in the break today. After the last few stages we didn’t want to work so much in the peloton looking at a possible sprint, so this seemed to be the best choice. I managed to get into the day’s break but we were never really able to build up a big lead. We tried to push it on the downhills and worked really well together. With 10 kilometers to go I started to think that we would have a chance to stay away, so I tried to save some energy. When the others started looking at each other 1.5 kilometers before the finish I attacked. I gave it everything I had, but when I looked around at the 500 meters mark the peloton was there. I’m disappointed, since it was so close. It was a hard day. Jaco Venter – Rider It was again a very active stage. We had Jaco in the break and he was at the front until 500 meters to go. In the end it was a bittersweet stage for us. We tried to keep Kristian in a good position, and he finished 8th. It’s another top10 result for the team, so we can actually be happy. Jean-Pierre Heynderickx – Sports Director
  14. Day one after what possibly has been the toughest stage in Grand Tour history. With Andorra left behind the peloton had to cover 173 kilometres to Lleida. Only one categorised climb and a lumpy profile made for a perfect breakaway scenario. But also the sprinters had an eye on this stage. In the end both perspectives came into play. In a breathtaking finale Jaco Venter lacked only 500 meters to take home the win. Click here to view the article
  15. The large group of 21 riders escaped just after the only categorised climb of the day, a cat 4 climb coming with 23km completed. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had our South African rider, Jaco Venter represented in the big move. It was rather interesting that the peloton let such a large group gain just over three minutes on them, with the possibility of surviving to the finish increasing with each passing kilometer. The big lead group worked well together initially but would start attacking one another when they realised at 20km to go that their chances of taking the stage were really good. With so many riders in the break, and all of them still relatively fresh after such a short stage it was tough to get away. It was only in the final 3km that a move would finally stick as Postelberger rode clear. It only took a slight hesitation by the group to start chasing and it was too late. The Tirol rider arrived 12 seconds ahead of the chasers with Jaco crossing the line 11th. Gerald Ciolek led the bunch home 1'09" later. I am really disappointed. I made the big break of 21 guys and I was sitting on for a lot of the stage so I was hoping to get away in the end. I tried quite a few times but each time I couldn't get enough of a gap and wasn't able to get a good result. I feel really bad for the team. Jaco Venter - Rider
  16. The Tour of Austria's 7th stage would only be a short one at 124km in length but the racing would be fast and furious. In the end it was a big 21 rider break that would decide the day with Lukas Pöstlberger (Tirol) taking the stage win ahead of Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) and Moreno Moser (Cannondale). Click here to view the article
  17. The final stage of the Tour de Luxembourg saw MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung in the thick of the action once again as Jaco Venter made the early break of the day which would turn out to also be the decisive move of the stage. Click here to view the article
  18. The early break was initially made up by 11 riders, Jaco included. With none of the riders an immediate threat to the GC lead, they were allowed to get up to a 6 minute advantage over the peloton. The parcours was tough, as riders were going up and down all day and this would eventually see riders from both the break and peloton being shelled out the back as the stage went on. Jaco showed he had good legs by driving the break for a large portion of the day. Coming into the last 20km of the stage, it would be Jaco and 7 other riders still leading the way 2 minutes ahead of the peloton. The fun and games would begin as multiple attacks then came from the break. Jaco was able to match the moves and it came down our South African and 4 others for the sprint finish. Sean de Bie (Lotto-Soudal) would take the stage win ahead of Leonardo Duque (Colombia) and Bjorn Leukemans (Wanty Groupe Gobert). With Kenneth van Bilsen (Cofidis) in 4th, Jaco rolled in for 5th place. The overall victory would go to Linus Gerdemann (Cult Energy) with Kristian Sbaragli ending 9th overall for our African team. I was happy to be in the break today and glad that we could stay away as well. The final laps were really hard laps. I couldn't keep up with the accelerations on the climbs but was fighting to get back every lap and eventually I ended with 5th. Jaco Venter - Rider
  19. The opening prologue of the Tour de Luxembourg saw riders take on a technical 2.6km city course. The victory would go to Adrien Petit (Cofidis) after just 3'58" minutes of effort. Bryan Coquard (Europcar) was 2nd and Arnaud Geraud (Bretagne-Seche) rounded out the podium. Click here to view the article
  20. There was a brief moment of excitement in the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung camp as Matt Brammeier was initially said to have crossed the line with a blistering fast 3'52". This was clearly incorrect as Matt actually had to walk the final kilometer after succumbing to a mechanical incident. The fastest MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rider would in fact be our South African, Jaco Venter. Jaco came home 10" seconds off the winning time which would be good enough for 16th on the day. Andy Stauff would follow just a few split seconds later to claim 17th on the stage. With the prologue only being 2.6km long though, all the times were within seconds of each other ensuring all is still to play for over the coming 4 road stages. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will keep to its intial plan of targeting a good GC result with Kristian Sbaragli and Youcef Reguigui. I am happy with the feeling I had on the bike today. I took it easy between Tour de Fjords and today to recover and so I was feeling fresh. I have done this prologue many times before and today was my best ride so that's good. I hope things go well for the team in the coming days now. Jaco Venter - Rider
  21. The 4th stage of the Tour of Qatar saw Jaco Venter go on the offensive, attacking with Dimitry Gruzdev (Astana) and Jarl Salomein (Topsport-Vlaanderen) after just 10km of racing. The trio built a lead of up to 3'45" at one stage before the prevailing winds ignited the chase from the peloton. Click here to view the article
  22. The escape was not to be despite the brave effort from the attackers. The sprinters teams nullified the gap with 18km remaining and a nervy bunch sprint then ensued. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were in the mix for the finale and with 8km we were in control of the peloton. Coming into the finish though the fight for position intensified and in the end Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took the victory on the line, edging Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) into 2nd place and Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) was 3rd across the line. Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep) held on to his overall lead. We went away after 10km. I was hoping for a lot of crosswind but it was all headwind so maybe it wasn't the best decision to be in the break because it was a really tough day. At some stages we were really fighting to just ride at 30km/h. I suppose we can say it was a good day of training. Jaco Venter - Rider Jaco Venter was away from kilometer 10, he fought all day and was caught in the final 20km. It was a fantastic ride by him today. Then there was a big sprint and we were part of it but unfortunately there was a big crash in front of Edvald so our riders lost each other. This caused us to be without a top result or even a top 10 but it is okay, the boys are riding well. Jens Zemke - Head of Performance
  23. Sbaragli has been with Team MTN-Qhubeka since 2013 while Janse van Rensburg and Venter both joined the team in 2012 (Venter also rode for the team in 2010). All 3 riders have shown steady improvement over the last 2 years and each proved their quality once again at the recent Vuelta a Espana, forming part of the 9 rider team that managed to finish the grand tour with its full compliment of riders. Sbaragli has shown he is a real star of the future, notching up no less than 22 top 10 results in sprint finishes this year alone. After recovering from his hernia operation, Janse van Rensburg has become a rejuvenated rider, winning the Mzansi Tour and performing strongly on multiple mountain stages throughout the year. Venter has shown his quality as a strong diesel engine while he has also played an integral part in our sprint leadouts. I am really happy to have extended my contract with Team MTN-Qhubeka for the next 2 seasons because here I have found a team that believe in me and give me the opportunity to show what i am capable of. I am quite happy with how my 2014 season has gone but next season i really went to step up a level and be competitive during the classics period. I also hope to turn some of my good results into victories next year. I am confident the team will be much stronger next year, particularly in the one-day races. Rider - Kristian Sbaragli I am very happy to continue my career with Team MTN-Qhubeka and for me it would be great if i can stay with the team as long as possible as I am an African in an African team. In 2015 I am really looking to improve on my general classification tour riding results, getting into the top 10 more often will be a goal. I will look to hold back a bit with my aggressive riding style, so less breakaways, using that energy to focus on the GC. I also hope to be able to be a strong support rider for our GC rider in the big tours. I think we have super strong team for the classics and stage wins next year and then obviously a really strong and young African GC line-up too. Rider - Jacques Janse van Rensburg I am happy to extend with Team MTN-Qhubeka again after a good 2 and a half years with the team. I am already excited for the 2015 season and this season isn't even finished yet. With the new riders we have next year i think we will have a good season and i am very motivated to work as hard as possible to support the team. As always, if there is an opportunity for me to get a result as well then i will take it. Rider - Jaco Venter These guys are core to the team’s success next year with Jaco being incredibly versatile in the classics and stage races with this time trialling strength and calm demeanour, Kristian will get huge support from the riders joining the team in 2015 to help him convert some of those top 10’s to wins and Jacques has made huge strides this year in his performance and is an asset in our climbing and stage race group. Team Principal – Douglas Ryder
  24. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are happy to announce that 3 of its Vuelta a Espana stars have recently renewed their contracts with the team. Kristian Sbaragli, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Jaco Venter have all renewed their agreements with Team MTN-Qhubeka. Click here to view the article
  25. He has enjoyed numerous top 20 results this season, the three biggest being 4th place in the ITT in Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi-Bartali, 9th on Stage 4 of 4 Jours de Dunkerque on the way to finish 12th overall. He took some time out to talk to us before starting the Tour of Norway on Wednesday. How do you feel about your season so far? I've had a few good races where I've been part of the racing. I have improved a lot since my previous European seasons and that's a good sign. I've been getting close to good results and I hope more will come from it the rest of the season and hopefully get that podium or a win. Is there something you could put your results down to this year? I am happy in the team and my surroundings. I've had no real problems or anything to worry about this year. I've had a very busy program racing a lot which is good for someone like me. As the racing goes on I get better and I've done 93 race days I think and that counts a lot to my results. Would you say your career has been affected by an instability when it comes to teams. Do you feel comfortable now in Team MTN-Qhubeka? Definitely. That's one of the major changes that's helped with my performance. The team and my surroundings. We've got good guys in the team as well as South Africans who understand what it's like to be in Europe away from home and the team has been really supportive. If you are happy you always race well and I am very happy. Have you discovered fully what kind of rider you are? I'm also discovering as I go on but I think I am more of a stage race rider. As the days go on I get better and better and I benefit if there is a time trial in the race too. So I think I am tour rider with not too big climbs and if I can get in a breakway and sprint from there. What result have you been most happy with this season? My only top five I've had is in Coppi e Bartali a few weeks ago. I was feeling really good that day. It was a time trial which suited me perfectly. Also in Dunkirk when I got a top ten in a .HC race and also finished 12th overall. It's a start for me getting good GC results with UCI points so I am happy with that. I wasn't really thinking of getting a result there so it was a nice surprise for me. Can you talk about the day you finished 9th in Dunkirk. You nearly quit the race after not feeling so good after the start. It was really surprising. After the Tour of Turkey I was really tired and we didn't have a lot of days in between the Turkey and Dunkrik so I was feeling very jet-lagged and hungover almost and then the first few days I got through thinking I can maybe get better like I always do as the days go on but I didn't really get better. On that specific day I told the guys early on I was feeling terrible and was going stop because I couldn't help the team at all as I was feeling rubbish. Then the team got on the front and starting working for Martin [Reimer] and I thought ok I can't stop, I have to start helping the team here. After Jay [Thomson] had been pacing I thought I can't let them down and then Martin said he wasn't feeling well and I started feeling better and better even though I was still cramping. But I thought let me give it a try and we decided we'd work for me and that was with one lap to go and I felt pretty good until 500m to go when I cramped again but I was pretty happy to finish 9th. What's your goals for the rest of 2013? I've got a top five so far this season but I'd really like to get a podium or a victory now. I would be super happy. My next goal races will be Luxembourg, Austria then Portugal but we're having some visa issues so we'll see which of those I can do and when I can take a break but those are the three races I want to aim for. Do you think your performance could inspire other riders in Africa. I hope so. I have been racing in South African for a few years with the guys and if they see I can do it I hope it's encouraging to the rest of the South Africans. I am not winning but you can see we are part of the racing and getting closer and closer all the time. Apart from Daryl [impey] and Rob [Hunter] we weren't really part of the racing before we were just following wheels but now we're part of the racing and making it. I think with the results the South African's are now getting, we have something to look forward to.
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