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Tour of Korea - 2.2

Korea, May 4-10, 2006

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Stage 7 - May 10: Yangyang - Yangyang, 133km

Lapthorne breaks through

By Robert Young, Drapac Porsche team manager

Lapthorne rode solo
Photo ©: Daniella Mollica
(Click for larger image)

The 2006 Tour of Korea has been a true team effort from the Drapac Porsche squad. From day one, when Stu Shaw capitalized on the policing done by his younger team mates to make the winning break in the closing laps, to Mitch Docker’s 100km long break on day six, each rider has been prepared to sacrifice his own chances for the team. For six stages Darren Lapthorne worked the climbs for GC rider Shaw, chased down breaks and lined up the race for the sprints. Then with 50km to go in the final stage and the race for yellow out of reach, Lapthorne finally got the opportunity to race for himself and he grabbed the chance to record his first UCI win in emphatic style.

Like so many stages this week the race started in light rain, which gradually increased in intensity as the field climbed the 923m ascent into Mt Seorak National Park. With three teams in the hunt for yellow (Drapac Porsche, Seoul City and Uzbekistan) it was expected Giant Asia would be forced onto the defensive to protect Tobias Erler’s GC lead. But with the climb proving more gradual than the race manual suggested, Erler was able to stay within two minutes and chase back on with his team shortly after the descent. With the last opportunity to unload Erler gone, Drapac Porsche changed its focus and sent Lapthorne up the road in an attempt to gain time in the team classification.

With Team Nippo’s Kazuya Okazaki and Yoo Tae Bok of Korea Soojawon, Lapthorne opened up a 1'30 lead with 35km to go, but with his breakaway companions tiring, the lead gradually shrank to 53 seconds with 13km to race. As the lead trio climbed out of Seoji City, the Drapac Porsche domestique attacked and in an extraordinary display of strength, powered the last kilometres to hold off the fast closing peloton by 21 seconds.

With the main field finishing together Erler’s yellow jersey was confirmed, with Seoul City taking out the team classification. Second on GC was Seoul’s Oh We Yong with Ruslan Karimov of Uzbekistan taking the final podium spot.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Daniella Mollica/Drapac Porsche


1 Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac Porsche 

Final general classification

1 Tobias Erler (Ger) Giant Asia
2 Oh We Yong (Kor) Seoul City
3 Ruslan Karimov (Uzb) Uzbekistan