Three PMB road cyclists off to Italy

2013-09-14 00:00

WITH the dust having barely settled after Greg Minnaar’s downhill world championship win, three Pietermaritzburg road cyclists are off to Italy on a quest of their own.

The three, Roger Rennie (66), Tinus Havinga (62) and Brett Berriman (41 today) are part of a South African team of 14 that will take part at the UCI World Cycling Tour in Trento, Italy.

The 66-year-old Rennie is Maritzburg’s best chance of a medal, having already claimed two bronze and a silver at the three world championships he’s already competed in.

Rennie is also the South African time trial 65-69 champion and has been cycling for 30 years.

It was when he lived next door to the Beneke brothers, Mark and Gary in Johannesburg, that the cycling bug hit.

“Mark is my mentor, and I’m currently trained by Gary,” said the born-and-bred Maritzburger.

His goal from the championships was to get another medal.

“I’ve raced against the field before. The standard of competition is extremely high, and you have guys that have just come off the pro-circuit,” he said, adding that some of the cyclists he might come up against could have even raced in the Tour de France in their younger days.

Berriman, who represented South Africa at cycling at under-17 level, said his level of fitness was not where he would have liked it to be, but still aimed for a top 20 finish in his 40-45 category.

Speaking about how his training was going, Berriman said: “It’s going as well as can be expected with work. I train in the afternoons after work, and mornings during the weekend.”

Havinga, a mountain biker, chose not to compete in the Mountain Bike Masters World Championships, as he did not want to risk injury ahead of the road cycling championships.

Although it was his second world championships, the 62-year-old Havinga felt he still had a lot to learn while competing in his 60-64 category. “I’m going there for the experience and enjoyment of it. I’m lucky that I’ve got my health and an opportunity to go there,” he said.

In other exciting news for Pietermaritzburg, the city has been awarded the rights to host CAC (Confederation Africaine de Cyclisme/ African Cycling Confederation) Forum in 2015.

The city will further look to enhance its reputation as “Bike City” by bidding to host the 2016 UCI World Cycling Forum.

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