This weekend saw the concluding stages of the Tour de Korea and despite a tough week of racing, JLT Condor p/b Mavic tried twice more to crack the pro-tour opposition and take a stage win.
Race Recap Stage 1-6:
Stages 1-5 saw mountains and bunch sprints a plenty with the team’s leader, Russell Downing taking three consecutive 5th places. Friday’s stage six saw an early breakaway group escape and build their lead over the three mountain passes. It was left to the team with the leaders yellow jersey, One Pro Cycling, to chase the break and defend their lead. However, they were unable to respond and as their riders were dropped from the peloton it became clear the breakaway would succeed, allowing the yellow jersey would slip through their fingers.
On the final mountain descent, Conor Dunne would be caught in a crash and fall down the mountainside whilst up ahead, 30km from the finish, Ed Laverack saw his opportunity to attack on a small incline. He was joined by three others as they raced ahead of the pack to the finish, where he would cross the line in 10th and move himself up into 10th in the overall standings, as well as 2nd place in the Best Young Rider competition.
Stage 6 highlights https://vimeo.com/170146594
Saturday’s stage seven would see the race head towards the capital Seoul. After taking a dramatic tumble over a cliff wall on stage six, Conor Dunne could have just rolled in with the field, but instead he attacked with determination and made a six man breakaway.
With the breakaway no threat to the new overall leader Grega Bole, the group would succeed in making it to the finish line before the main bunch. In the closing 5 kilometres, JLT Condor’s Dunne launched his first attack, but was reeled in by One Pro Cycling’s Kristian House. As soon as he had been caught he attacked again and this reduced the group to four. He was again reeled in by House. At 1km to go, Conor Dunne made one last ditch attempt to attack his group on the crest of a slight lump, but he was again chased down and the four riders remained together going into the last 100m. Dunne’s efforts meant that there was little left in the tank for the sprint and he secured 4th on the stage.
“Really disappointed to not get a win today. I didn’t want it to come down to a sprint as it’s not my forte so I gave it a lot and did my best to try and break away on several occasions.” Explained Conor Dunne.
John Herety was full of praise for the young rider, “Conor rode with his head. Instead of sitting on and knowing he wouldn’t be as strong in a sprint he took control of the situation. He could have let his head drop after the crash the day before as he’s carrying a lot of injuries but he didn’t.”
Watch Conor Dunne on the attack in the stage highlights:
The final day was billed as a thrilling end of the 2016 Tour de Korea and a sprint on the edges of the Seoul Olympic Park would close the tour.
The team rode to protect Ed Laverack and ensure he wasn’t involved in crashes and thus would finish the race. Laverack, 21, was sitting in 10th and 2nd overall in the Best Young Riders competition. The Welsh youngster was also the highest placed British rider in the race.
The flat parcours and short 65km stage was designed to culminate in a dramatic bunch sprint and that it did. Into the final 300 metres JLT Condor’s Russ Downing launched his attack early in an attempt to catch the other sprinters off guard. However it was just a little too far and he was overtaken in the final few metres to finish 6th on the day.
Ed Laverack solidified his position in 10th overall and 2nd in the Best Young Rider classification.
Final stage – highlights https://vimeo.com/170351936
Overall standings after stage 8
1. BOLE Grega (Nippo – Vini Fantini) 28:03:02”
2. MEGIAS Javier (Team Novo Nordisk) +0:13”
3. GONG Hyo Suk (KSPO) ,,
4. BERLATO Giacomo (Nippo – Vini Fantini) +0:36”
5. SHUSHEMOIN Alexandr (Astana / Vino SKO) +0:54”
10. LAVERACK Edward (JLT Condor) +2:55”