On Sunday 7th June, the 2015 edition of the Tour de Korea starts with its first stage in Busan. 20 teams from across World Tour, Continental and National level compete in this tough 1250km race, undoubtedly one of the jewels in the crown of the UCI Asia Tour.
Travelling from Busan, situated at the southeastern-most tip of the Korean peninsula, to the capital city of Seoul over 8 stages, the race features both an exciting mix of ferocious climbs and faced paced criterium circuits.
The eleventh edition of the UCI 2.1 ranked Asia Tour race will see the team return as two time winners of this prestigious race, with team rider Mike Cuming and past alumni Hugh Carty taking the overall classifications in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Heres our pick of what could prove to be key stages in the race for the men in black & yellow.
Stage 1 – 7th June, Busan to Gumi, 189.1km
The Tour de Korea kicks off with a relatively flat 190km parcours from Busan to Gumi. The stage passes only one major climb to speak of, a 7% fairly short category 4 bump at Horyeong-Gogae, in theory the stage should end as a battle between the sprinters. JLT Condor will perhaps look to a fast finisher like Ed Laverack to place well in the initial stage of the eight-day tour.
Stage 2 – 8th June, Gumi to Muju, 174.4km
Perhaps the most challenging stage, mondays leg sees riders negotiate two substantial category 3 climbs en route to an uphill finale at Muju. The first of the days climbs comes 71km in at Hwa-ryeong, whilst the scond leg-burner at Gungchon-jae 109km in. Both climbs are 1.5km at 8%, so expect explosive efforts as riders seek to disrupt the general classification on this tough stage. This could be the perfect platform for our climber & GC man Mike Cuming to test his legs early.
Stage 5, 11th June, Yeosu to Gangjin, 175km
Stage five boasts both a category 4 and category 3 climb for riders to negotiate, but the intervening distance is anything but flat. A long and lumpy affair, this could be the perfect opportunity for Rich Handley or Mike Cuming to stretch their legs and execute some strategic climbing prowess.
Stage 6 – 12th June, Gangjin to Gunsan, 193.7km
Gangjin will see the start of the sixth stage, a fairly straightforward long stage to the seaport city of Gunsan, situated on the south bank of the Guem River.
The sprint point of the day takes place at 140km into the stage,at the ‘Monkey School’ situated in Buan-gun. With just over another pan-flat 50km to the finish, rest assured there will be no time for any monkey-business in this predicted fast finale.
For fans wishing to follow the race, listed below is a variety of resources for updates throughout the week. Of course our own social channels will also be providing daily updates on the progress of the team, with dispatches on the road from our Manager John Herety.
Team for 2015 Tour de Korea – 7th – 14th June
Masseur Charlie Tennick
Mechanic Iain McClellan
David McCarthy (reserve rider)
Kristian House (reserve rider)
Dante Carpenter (reserve rider)