Eighteen-year-old Songezo Jim has taken yellow in the junior category of the Western Cape's Spring League after beating former yellow jersey holder Bernard Venter. The 110km Medscheme Tour de Vino cycling event was held in South Africa on Sunday, October 5, at the Boschendal Wine Estate.
Jim - who rides for the acsis junior competitive program - finished second in last Sunday's event, three seconds behind category winner Johan van Zyl, the current South Africa Junior road cycling champion. Only five kilometers into the race the climb of Helshoogte saw several riders in difficulty. The bunch spread out, with the acsis riders pacing at the front. Team Neotel took over and pulled for most of the race.
Life Cycling Academy's Glyn Broomberg commented on the performance of the new Junior yellow jersey holder. "Songezo Jim is one of the LCA's most promising cyclists and a worthy winner of the yellow jersey. We are very proud of his achievement; this is the first time that a black cyclist has taken yellow in the Junior category in any of the Western Province cycling leagues."
Broomberg is confident Jim - who lives in Masephumelele near Kommetjie - will retain the jersey until the end of the Spring league. "Not only is Songezo a very talented cyclist, but he is also very committed to the sport and to training hard to achieve results, particularly since his return from a visit to the Tour de France." Jim was one of six Life Cycling Academy cyclists who visited the 2008 Tour de France as guests of the winning team, Team CSC-Saxo Bank.
While in Europe, Jim impressed his hosts when he rode Alpe d'Huez - the Tour's most famous 14km, hors catégorie mountain climb - in an impressive 52 minutes.
(Additional editorial assistance provided by Ben Atkins)