Ruta del Sol #5: Songezo Jim and Merhawi Kudus on the offensive

Songezo Jim 1 St 1 Norway

The final stage of the Ruta del Sol saw Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) win the tough uphill sprint ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling). Chris Froome (Team Sky) was able to preserve his 1 second lead over Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) to win the race overall.

It was another productive day for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung as they animated the racing by placing 2 riders in the 7 man break of the day. Songezo Jim and Merhawi Kudus both escaped from the peloton inside the first 15km of the stage.

The fugitives were able to push out an advantage of just under 3 minutes to the peloton. Lotto-Soudal and Tinkoff-Saxo kept the gap in check though as they had clear objectives for the finish. With 40km to race and a lead of just 30″, Merhawi attacked the break on a slight rise, pulling clear with Maciej Paterski (CCC Polsat) and Johnny Hoogerland (Team Roompot).

The trio drove as hard as they could but Movistar were furiously leading the charge from the peloton as well. Eventually Merhawi and his fellow escapees were reeled in with 15km to go. Attention then turned to Tyler Farrar for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung as they looked to set the American up for the sprint. The final drag at over 15% gradient was just too tough for Tyler though as he was distanced in the final 200meters.

Alex Sans Vega – Sports Director 

Today was an extremely fast day. We raced most of the day with a tail wind. We wanted to be in the break today and both Songezo and Merhawi made it into the front group with 5 other guys. They rode well together and our boys tried to save some energy for the final 50km where the wind was blowing even stronger. After a climb where Merhawi put in a small acceleration the downhill was super fast and here the small split happened with the 3 riders. After they were caught at 15km to go, we focused on Tyler for the sprint but it wasn’t his best day and he couldn’t go for the sprint. Overall I am happy with the team performance. The teams has good balance and commitment at the moment and we look forward to the next races.


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