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Tour of Korea - 2.5
Korea, May 11-16, 2003
Stage 3 - May 13: Chun Chon - Kang Leung, 180 km
Chadwick in the fog
By Mikkeli Godfree
This 200km stage, which on the course-profile looked like a roller-coaster from hell, was always going to be instrumental in the Tour de Korea. There was a mass sigh of relief however when the stage was shortened by 20km in the interests of safety. This was decided after the final descent was deemed too dangerous to race down with visibility at about 2.5 metres.
This was hard to believe however, as the conditions in Chun Chon were perfect with a slight breeze and clear(ish) skies. Despite the shortening of the stage, the race would still be gruelling, with a great deal of climbing which would take the riders up to over 1000m above sea-level. Not only this, with the final descent being cut from the race, the stage would comprise a mountain-top finish to spice things up a bit.
A few decent rises in the first 70km saw many lose contact with the main bunch, but there would be no significant moves until the first KOM at 84km, which saw a break go and the field shatter behind. Although there was much action in between the KOM sprints, the race was decided on the long climb up to the second KOM at 117km.
This KOM climb, won by Chadwick (Giant Asia) over Carter (Marco Polo) set the scene for a show-down between Giant Asia and Marco Polo. In the front group, Giant Asia were dominating with Chris Carr, Ghader Mizibani and Glen Chadwick (2nd on the GC only 3 secs down on Wong). They were accompanied by Tretyahov (Kazakhstan), Baigudinov (Orbea Exte-Ondo), Carter (Marco Polo) and Aitken (Team MGZT). Behind the leaders, what was left of the field (about 30 riders) were being led by the two Marco Polo riders, including the yellow jersey as they tried to limit the damage Giant Asia were dealing out.
However, with Carr and Mizibani completely burying themselves into the block headwind before the final two climbs, Marco Polo could do little but watch the time-gap go out to one minute, and then to two. With the Giant Asia riders doing the job for Chadwick, Tretyahov, Baigudinov, Carter and Aitken were given a free ride as they waited for the expected fireworks on the final two climbs. Similarly behind, Marco Polo were receiving no help from the main group, Wong working extremely hard to keep himself in GC contention.
As Mizibani tired, Carr (who had been dropped on previous climb, only to chase back on and go straight to the front) took over most of the workload at the front, the time-gap to the yellow jersey stretching out to over two minutes. Then, the proverbial hit the fan. With two climbs in the last 15km, Chadwick was always going to fire the race up. His opportunity came as from absolutely nowhere, came an unbelievably thick and cold fog. The now GC leader on the road, attacked hard, Carter and Aitken the only ones able to respond as they set off after him.
However, the fog closed in further and Chadwick was out of sight and on a mission. Aitken and Carter chased through the fog which by the start of the final climb offered no more than five metres visibility. By the finish, Chadwick had soloed out to a minute over the chasing duo. As these two approached the line, Aitken finished off a fine day of hill-climbing to take Carter in the sprint for second - these two filling up third and second on GC respectively. Behind, Wong could only manage 14th, just over 4 mins down. Chadwick had taken the yellow jersey with relative ease whilst Wong had dropped to 5th.
The stage finish looked more like the end of an alpine stage of ‘Le Tour’ than one in Korea as riders circled around deliriously looking for their team cars in the fog. It had been a stage of epic proportions which had seen the Giant Asia team strengthen their grip on the race. With two road stages (one with another 1000m-high climb) and a short circuit race remaining, the Tour de Korea is far from over.
Images by Mikkeli Godfree
1 Glen Chadwick (Aus) Giant Asia 4.56.27 2 Brett Aitken (Aus) Team MGZT 1.00 3 Michael Carter (USA) Marco Polo 4 Sergey Tretyakov (Kaz) Kazakhstan 1.57 5 Chris Carr (Aus) Giant Asia 6 Kairat Baigudinov (Kaz) Orbea Exte-Ondo 7 Ghader Mizibani (Iri) Giant Asia 2.18 8 Paul Redenbach (Aus) Giant Asia 4.01 9 Kuan Hua Lai (Tpe) Chinese Taipei 10 Seok Kyu Suh (Kor) Seoul City 11 Vladimir Bushanskiy (Kaz) Kazakhstan 12 Bakhtiyar Mamrov (Kaz) Orbea Exte-Ondo 13 Vadim Kravchenko (Kaz) Kazakhstan 14 Kam Po Wong (HKg) Marco Polo 15 Seong Pek Bak (Kor) Seoul City General classification after Stage 3 1 Glen Chadwick (Aus) Giant Asia 10.33.31 2 Michael Carter (USA) Marco Polo 1.14 3 Brett Aitken (Aus) Team MGZT 2.58 4 Chris Carr (Aus) Giant Asia 4.07 5 Kam Po Wong (HKg) Marco Polo 4.07 6 Sergei Tretyakov (Kaz) Kazakhstan 4.50 7 Kairat Baigudinov (Kaz) Orbea Exte-Ondo 4.54 8 Ghader Mizibani (Iri) Giant Asia 5.17 9 Paul Redenbach (Aus) Giant Asia 6.09 10 Seoung Pek Bak (Kor) Seoul City 6.20 11 Bakhtiyar Mamrov (Kaz) Orbea Exte-Ondo 6.34 12 Domenic Gatto (Aus) Team MGZT 6.54 13 Vadim Kravchenko (Kaz) Kazakhstan 6.54 14 Vladimir Bushanskiy (Kaz) Kazakhstan 6.55 15 Sergei Lavrenenko (Kaz) Kazakhstan 6.55