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Tour of Korea - 2.5
Korea, May 11-16, 2003
Stage 2 - May 13: Chun Chon Criterium
By Mikkeli Godfree
After a day of field obliterating climbing the Tour de Korea stayed put for the day with a Criterium in the centre of Chun Chon. A completely different set of players came out of the woodwork, the fast Korean finishers keen to show their talents.
A spectacular day welcomed the riders as they rode the short distance from their lakeside resort accommodation for a 72km criterium comprising 30 laps of a 2.4km course. The inner-city course was far from plain sailing however, as a short, steep climb out of Chun Chon would keep the riders honest.
The attacks came from the gun, the first from Joel Pearson (Team MGZT) who was left to hang for two laps before being joined by another two riders. They held their lead for the next three laps before they were hauled back in and Chris Carr (Giant Asia) duly provided the counter-attack. His was followed by many more unsuccessful attacks in the first hour before the decisive break was made.
This consisted of three riders from Kazakhstan, Mamyrov, Tupzenko (both Orbea Exte-Ondo) and Yuda (Kazakhstan national team). They were joined by Sung (Uijeongbu City) as they tore away from the chasing field. Realising this was the move of the day, Cho and Bak (both Seoul City) decided to cross the gap before it became unassailable. They rode flat-out for two laps and latched on to make it an even Korea/Kazakhstan split with two riders each from Orbea Exte-Ondo and Seoul City.
This break worked perfectly as behind Marco Polo set about defending their recently acquired yellow jersey on the shoulders of Kam Po Wong, closely followed by the Giant Asia boys who held second overall with Glen Chadwick. They had little if any designs on the win and just held the break at a safe distance.
With the laps running out, Giant Asia became toey and began to fire up the race with Roland very active at the front. With two laps remaining, Brett Aitken (Team MGZT) tried to catch the Giant Asia riders off guard with a strong counter attack into the home-straight, but was closely marked by a race-face-wearing Paul Redenbach (Giant Asia).
Coming into the final lap, the break still had over twenty seconds and was looking unbeatable. With two teams having two riders each, the pace stayed high. As they lined up for the final sprint, the last two riders to join the break, Ho Sung Cho and Seong Pek Bak (both Seoul City), took a fantastic clean sweep as they went 1-2 all arms held aloft. Indeed, the finish saw a crowd-pleasing Korean 1-2-3, Kazakhstan 4-5-6 as they screamed over the line. Only 18 seconds in arrears Brett Aitken took best-of-the-rest line honours with relative ease.
The race run and won with no significant change in the general classification, the riders retired to their beds to rest up for the next stage. Wednesday's third stage would be a day of hell, taking in 200km and thousands of metres of climbing as the race tracks its way to the East Sea coast. Stay tuned for some serious GC changes
Images by Mikkeli Godfree
1 Ho Sung Cho (Seoul City) 1.36.19 2 Seoung Pek Bak (Seoul City) 3 Min Sik Sung (Uijeongbu City) 4 Bakhtiyar Mamyrov (Orbea Exte-Ondo) 5 Yuriy Yuda (Kazakhstan) 6 Danis Tupzenko (Orbea Exte-Ondo) 7 Brett Aitken (Team MGZT) 0.18 8 Hyon Gu Lee (Kyung Ryoon) 9 Dae Yong Choi (Kowaco) 10 Sergey Lavrenenko (Kazakhstan) 11 Sung Chan Choi (Kowaco) 12 Peter Milostic (Team MGZT) 13 Seok Kyu Suh (Seoul City) 14 Yoon Ho Ju (Yang Yang Gun Chung) 15 Dong Young Kim (Yang Yang Gun Chung) Overall Classification after stage 2 1 Kam Po Wong (Marco Polo) 2 Glen Chadwick (Giant Asia) 3 Michael Carter (Marco Polo) 4 Brett Aitken (Team MGZT) 5 Paul Redenbach (Giant Asia) 6 Chriso Carr (Giant Asia) 7 Cory Lange (Marco Polo) 8 Pak Seong Bak (Seoul City) 9 Bakhtiyar, Mamrov (Orbea Exte-Ondo) 10 Peter Milostic (Team MGZT) 11 Domenic Gatto (Team MGZT) 12 Sergey Tretyakov (Kazakhstan) 13 Yurly Plyukhin (Uzbekistan) 14 Vadim Kravchenko (Kazakhstan) 15 Vladimir Bushanskiy (Kazakhstan)