Following formidable international careers racing at the highest level with Team Dimension Data for the past eight seasons, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Jaco Venter have returned to South Africa but with no intention of taking the pressure off the pedals. Instead, they have their sights set firmly on a new challenge – conquering the world of mountain biking as Team First Move.
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. Jacques and Jaco 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.