Highlighted as one of the team’s favorite international races, the Tour de Korea returns on Sunday, 5th June with 8 stages of racing starting from Busan in the southeast before heading northward to the capital city, Seoul. The 2.1 ranked UCI Asia Tour will unfold over 1230km with nineteen teams from Pro Continental, Continental and National level all lining up at the start.
Taking in everything from hilly passes to vast national parks, the race will take in some of the most scenic landscapes that Eastern Asia has to offer on it’s cross-country journey, making the Tour de Korea a true gem of the Asia Tour.
JLT-Condor p/b Mavic returns to the Tour de Korea as two time winners with past alumni, Mike Cumings taking the yellow jersey in 2013 after fighting off the competition on stage six and defending his lead to the end of the tour.
Hugh Carthy made it a second overall win in 2014 after an outstanding performance on stage seven. Attacking on the final climb, he distanced himself and crossed the line ahead of the rest of the field with a time gap that was unreachable for the remainder of the tour.
Heres everything you need to know about each stage.
Stage 1 – 5th June. Busan – Gumi : 189.1km
A relatively flat stage one in the southeastern corner of the country gets the Tour de Korea underway. Starting from the second largest South Korean city of Busan, the race heads inland 190km to the finish in Gumi.
Just the one categorised features in the stage at and at 1.8% with an average of 7%, the climb of Horyeong-Gogae should be relatively straight forward and should see the bunch come back together for a sprint finish in Gumi.
Stage 2 – 6th June. Gumi – Gunsan : 235.5km
At 236km stage two of this years Tour de Korea is it’s longest and with two big climbs featuring on the route, the stage is certainly one of the most testing.
A short climb eases the riders into the day but it isn’t long before the first real test comes. At 2.4km long with a average gradient of 8.9%, the climb of Buhang – ryeong will likely spilt the pack before they descend towards the second KoM.
Although not as long, the second climb of Unjangsan-Gogae is equally as steep and could see a few attacks, however, with 90km of racing after the summit and a completely downhill run to the finish, we expect to see it all come back together coming into Gunsan.
Stage 3 – 7th June. Gunsan – Daejeon : 145.8km
Stage three starts from the riverside city of Gunsan and heads out at sea level for the first half before reaching the only categorised of the day and the climbs immediately after the summit.
The race will make it’s way back to sea level but at the tail end of the 146km the road starts to point upwards at 15km to go. We’re anticipating a few attacks in the attempt to gain some distance before the descent into the finishing city.
Stage 4 – 8th June. Daejeon (Circuit) : 85.8km
Staying in the metropolis of Daejeon, stage 4 tackles four laps of a 17km circuit before a 19km finishing circuit on the outskirts of the city. Almost completely flat the stage is going to be fast and aggressive but with a slight ramp up towards the line at 500m, it could make for an interesting sprint.
Stage 5 – 9th June. Daejeon – Asan : 170.7km
The race leaves the hustle and bustle of the city with a flat first half before heading into the hills for the latter. Just one categorised climb is on the agenda for stage 5 however there are a few lumps and bumps between the summit of the KoM and the finish line in Asan, with one notably at just 10km from the end.
Stage 6 – 10th June. Asan – Chungju : 194.6km
The queen stage, at 194.6km stage 6 isn’t the longest of the tour but what it lacks in length is makes up for in climbing and it’s a stage for the GC contenders to show their prowess.
Just 35km in and the first of two categorised climbs are tackled and at 4km, 6% ave it’s a testing start to what will be a tough stage. The second KoM comes in at 118km with similar statistics and there’s little rest between the top and the finish with some notable lumps before the big descent into Chungju.
Stage 7 – 11th June. Chungju – Seoul : 142.5km
After a tough previous day, the race heads back on to lower grounds for the penultimate stage for what is expected to be a fast stage from the start. With the one KoM of the day being tackled early on and just a few lumps along the route we should see the bunch sprint as the race enters the Capital city, Seoul.
Stage 8 – 12th June. Seoul (Circuit) : 65km
The 2016 edition of the Tour de Korea ends as it always does with a 65km circuit race in the heart of the South Korean capital city, Seoul.
The final stage will begin with a 44km circuit out from the Olympic Park to take in the beautiful sights of South Korea’s largest metropolis. The race will then return to the Olympic Park for four laps before finishing in the shadow of the ‘World Peace Gate’.
For those wishing to follow the 2016 Tour de Korea, Listed below is a variety of resources to stay updated on all of the racing, as well as our own galleries and reports after each stage.