Songezo Jim still chasing victory after aggressive second stage of Amissa Bongo
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Songezo Jim still chasing victory after aggressive second stage of Amissa Bongo

by Ben Atkins at 9:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
South African honoured to be presented jersey by Bernard Hinault

Songezo JimSongezo Jim (MTN-Qhubeka) was awarded the most combative rider’s jersey at the end of today’s second stage of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo, between Awoua and Oyem, in the west African republic of Gabon, but is still aiming for a victory in what is one of Africa’s biggest races. The 23-year-old South African, who finished fourth overall in last year’s edition, was part of the day’s main breakaway, but was unable to hold off the peloton in the race to the finish.

“About 20 kilometres into the race, five of us got a good gap,” Jim explained. “We went away and I got second at the first king of the mountains. We kept rolling through and the time gap kept getting bigger. After a while five guys came across to us so the group was swollen to ten. I decided to reduce the group and I attacked. This left us with only four guys in front so I attacked again.

“A guy from Caja Rural [Omar Fraile - ed] went with me,” Jim added. “We were working together but he wasn’t giving 100% because their leader was in the bunch behind. If both of us were committed we would have had a really good chance of staying away I think. I attacked him with 10 kilometres to go but I couldn’t get away from him and we were caught with 5 kilometres to go and that was pretty much the end of our day.”

After two of the seven stages, Jim is out of general classification contention, having finished in the main peloton on stage one and losing 18 and a half minutes to the winner. His teammate Linus Gerdemann still sits in fourth overall, however - the position that Jim himself finished in 2013 - and the South African still hopes to get something out of the race for himself.

“I missed the winning move yesterday,” Jim said. “I was disappointed because I’ve been training really hard for this race but on the other hand I was happy for my teammates as Linus is fourth on GC now.

“It’s an honour to be presented with the most combative jersey on the podium by Bernard Hinault but I didn’t win the stage so I am committed to looking for more opportunities and I am hungry to bring the team success,” he added. “We’re working really well together and looking forward to the rest of the race.”

The second stage of the race was won by Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), but time bonuses on the line were enough for stage one winner Luis León Sánchez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) to take the overall lead.

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