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Tour of Korea - 2.5
Korea, May 11-16, 2003
Stage 6 - May 16: Yang Yang circuit race, 80km
Canny Cho takes final stage; Chadwick secures GC
By Mikkeli Godfree
An 80km circuit race would bring the Tour de Korea to a close, the small town of Yang Yang playing host to the race for the third day in a row. The townspeople were intrigued and excited as the old and young came out in their hundreds to stand and sit with large groups of school kids (yes, school on Saturday). The race circuit would start in the main street before heading out, over the river, into an industrial area and back as it made 20, 4km laps.
With Chadwick (Giant Asia) 1min14sec up on Carter (Marco Polo) in the GC, the race was still up for grabs, but it would take a miracle for Marco Polo to turn the tables. Try they did, however, and after two easy laps, the boys in blue fired the race up with some relentless attacking. Behind, Giant Asia showed their class as they marked every move. With a slight on-shore breeze drifting into Yang Yang, the bridge-crossing saw some hard, in-the-gutter racing, the fatigue showing in many sets of legs. Taking advantage of this, Marco Polo riders Cory Lange and Robin Rein attacked tirelessly, but each time were followed by a Giant Asia rider, either Chris Carr or Paul Redenbach.
Despite these attacks, nothing seemed to stick and with 4 laps remaining the whole group decided to rest up for the finish. This relaxed pace was short-lived though as Giant Asia took control with the help of Team MGZT, the former wanting to keep their yellow jersey safe, and the latter wanting to set up the finish for fast-man Brett Aitken.
Over the next few laps, these two teams wound it up with an exceptional amount of work being done by Chris Carr who seemed to be making amends for his crash and GC plummet on the previous day. Working with Carr at the front were teammates Redenbach and Mizbani (their team down to four) and the Team MGZT duo of Gatto and Milostic.
Coming into the final lap the pace was hot and any thoughts of a break were put to rest. The bunch screamed into the final corner with twenty year-old Joel Pearson leading MGZT teammate Aitken into the final 350metres. Behind them was Cho, winner of stages 2 and 4. Realising the threat, Aitken backed off Pearson to tempt Cho around but the savvy Korean was having none of it. With 250 metres remaining, Aitken hit out as Cho drew alongside. The stroke-for-stroke drag race to the line was finally won by the Korean who showed his class by taking his third victory in five days. Aitken came in a close second, disappointed not to have taken a stage win, but content with his strong 3rd place on GC.
Behind the leading duo, Pearson showed great strength to hold onto third after leading into the last corner. This meant that Team MGZT had mirrored their prologue performance, with Aitken and Pearson taking 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Behind, Chadwick rolled over line, content that his Tour victory had been sealed thanks to his seamless riding and strong team. Not only that, but Giant Asia had also secured the win in the Team Classification, beating Marco Polo and the Kazakhstan team with relative ease.
The 2003 Tour de Korea has now come to an end. It had taken in some spectacular scenery, incredible racing, fantastic food, and had been warmly welcomed at every turn. It must be said that the passion that the Korean Cycling Federation for promoting their sport is extremely strong and this is evident in how they run their races. Until next year…
Images by Mikkeli Godfree
1 Ho Sung Cho (Kor) Seoul City 1.44.37 2 Brett Aitken (Aus) Team MGZT 3 Joel Pearson (Aus) Team MGZT General Classification after Stage 5 1 Glen Chadwick (Aus) Giant Asia 17.29.53 2 Michael Carter (USA) Marco Polo 1.14 3 Brett Aitken (Aus) Team MGZT 2.52 4 Kam Po Wong (HKg) Marco Polo 3.47 5 Sergei Lavrenenko (Kaz) Kazakhstan 4.23 6 Sergei Tretyakov (Kaz) Kazakhstan 4.50 7 Kairat Baigudinov (Kaz) Orbea Exte-Ondo 4.54 8 Ghader Mizibani (Irn) Giant Asia 5.17 9 Seoung Pek Bak (Kor) Seoul City 6.20 10 Bakhtiyar Mamrov (Kaz) Orbea Exte-Ondo 6.34 11 Vladimir Bushanskiy (Kaz) Kazakhstan 6.44 12 Vadim Kravchenko (Kaz) Kazakhstan 6.54 13 Yuriy Plyukjhin (Uzb) Uzbekistan 8.13 14 Paul Redenbach (Aus) Giant Asia 9.47 15 Domenic Gatto (Aus) Team MGZT 10.32