MTN-Qhubeka’s Songezo Jim made history at La Vuelta a España this weekend when he became South Africa’s first black cyclist to finish a Grand Tour.
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“Firstly it is a World Tour level event so the standard is really, really high. Then there is the duration, for three weeks you racing at that level so it really takes a lot out of your body.”
After falling ill on stage 16, Jim did not fully recover but managed to make it to the finish in Madrid.
“It was going to take a broken bone to stop me from getting to Madrid. I think that was the only thing that could have stopped me from finishing this race.”
The highlight of the race for Jim was being part of the breakaways on stage nine and 18.
“The first breakaway was good for me because I was still feeling relatively fresh so I enjoyed that day.”
Jim said he had gotten better as the race went on and has his sights set on a stage win in a Grand Tour in the near future.
“A lot of people have said that finishing your first Grand Tour boosts your engine a bit, so I am confident in my progression as bike rider.”
He is taking a brief time-out to rest and recover before tackling three races in Italy and his last race of the season, the Abu Dhabi Tour, with MTN-Qhubeka.