Janse Van Rensburg of MTN-Qhubeka becomes the first foreigner to win the Yellow Jersey in the history of Tour of Eritrea
Following on from his teammate Jani Tewelde’s first stage win at the Tour of Eritrea on Wednesday 30 May, Jacques Janse van Rensburg ensured that the MTN-Qhubeka Team took another stage win as took first place on the podium after a hot and gruelling second stage from Massawa to Asmara.
The blazing hot conditions of stage one continued through to the second stage of the race, which was a 115km stretch that included a daunting 60km climb along Seydichi Pass.
“Jacques Janse Van Rensburg demonstrated again on today’s stage just why he must be one of this continent’s best climbers by ascending to victory on a brutal 60km climb,” says MTN-Qhubeka Team Manager Kevin Campbell. “He outdistanced his nearest rival by over a minute, leaving many Eritreans believing he must be a local as he left the field floundering in his wake.”
His impressive efforts on stage two mean that Janse Van Rensburg now leads the race by 55sec from Algerian Azzedine Lagab, who finished third on the stage, with second-place stage finisher Frekalsi Debesay, riding for the Eritrean National Team, sitting in third place in the General Classification.
“Many riders finished almost half an hour behind the stage winner, who himself took almost four hours to complete the 115km stage,” says Campbell. “Starting at sea level, the road twisted and turned for almost 50km before adding a turn upwards into the mix, eventually climbing to 2400m above sea level over the next 65km.”
Team MTM-Qhubeka set a steady tempo from the start, allowing three riders to escape and build a 3min lead, which dwindled as the stage progressed and eventually disappeared as the Eritrean riders upped the tempo on the climb.
“One by one, the challenge ended for rider after rider as the continuous, tortuous hairpins and relentless drags took their toll,” says Campbell. “Janse Van Rensburg kept a cool head in the dry heat as the three-way dual for supremacy continued between Frekalsi, Lagab and himself.”
With 20km remaining the South African made his move, first dropping the Algerian rider and then the Eritrean.
“He made the rest of the stage look easy considering the carnage other riders were dealing with on the road behind him,” Campbell says. “He claimed the stage victory on one of the main streets of Asmara, lined with cheering Eritrean cycling fans, who were disappointed that one of their countrymen was not winning the stage, but full of appreciation for his brilliant display of climbing.”
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STAGE -2 RESULT: MASSAWA – ASMARA (115KM)
1. Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) 03:51’05”
2. Frekalsi Debesay (Eritrean National Team) 03:52’06”
3. Azzedine Lagab (Algeria) 03:52’06”
4. Bereket Yemane (Eritrean National Team) 03:54’55”
5. Tesfom Okbamariam (Red Sea Camels) 03:54’55”
RED, YELLOW AND GREEN JERSEY WINNER: Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka
1. Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) 06:16’53”
2. Azzedine Lagab (Algeria) 06:17’48”
3. Frekalsi Debesai (Eritrea) 06:18’39”
4. Bereket Yemane (Eritrea) 06:20’37”
5. Dawit Haile (Red Sea Camels) 06:20’37”
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