The conclusion of the second stage of La Tropicale Amissa Bongo today saw Linus Gerdemann hold onto his fourth place on the general classification. The team was again aggressive as the day started with Songezo Jim forming part of the main escape of the day. Along with a Spaniard, he was the last rider to be caught as the stage drew to a close and was presented with the jersey as the most combative rider on the day by five times Tour de France champion Bernard Hinault. The stage was won by Jerome Baugnies (Wanty – Groupe Goubert) while stage one victor Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural) moves into the overall race lead.
- Songezo Jim speaks…
About 20 kilometres into the race, five of us got a good gap. Went 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 went with me. 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.
I missed the winning move yesterday. 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. We’re working really well together and looking forward to the rest of the race.