World Wide Cycling
de Korea 2005. May 7th to 13th
1 Seoul-Chun Chon 167.1km
2 Chun Chon-Yang Yang 160km
3 Yang Yang-Oe Sung Jun Yang Yang 160km
4 Yang Yang Criterium 80km
5 Yang Yang-Won Ju 166.km
6 Won Ju-Ha Nam. 231km (shorten to 131km)
by Michael Carter and Peter Coates
The Banner from the Tour de Korea 2005.
won this race last year and my form was MUCH better than last year. I spent the
first four months of 2004 working with Dr. Massimo Testa at the University Of
California - Davis in the Sports Performance Lab. I spent my "free"
time that Spring on the Sacramento "Great American River Trail" (not
sure what is 'great' about it) bike path, which happens to be totally flat and
at sea level. Yikes! Hated that! I am used to training in Colorado, uphill to 3.
000 meters - what a huge difference.
any rate, this year was totally different. Started the season with the Tour Of
Siam, then direct to the Tour Of Qatar (2.HC) with the likes of his Royal
Highness Mr. Tom Boonen, "The Lion King," a.k.a., Senore Cipollini,
eventual winner Lars Michaelson of CSC, Senor Tafi, Mr. "Fast" Freddie
Rodriguez of the good ol' USA, among other SUPER Stars. So the kilometers of
good quality racing were (still are - stay tuned!!!!) there.
is as our awesome Soigneur Peter Coates from the Land of The Great Kiwi states,
"a land were policeman ride Harley Davison motor cycles, there is never a
4th floor in a hotel, you sleep on the floor on a "futon" and if you
go too a fancy seafood restraint you eat living sea slugs".
(The funs of Asia only caused more arthritis for our beloved 72-year-old
team manager who kept on saying the "F____" word every time he had to
sit on the floor to eat his evening meal.).
Marco Polo Cycling Team in the Tour de Korea with their new Trek bikes at the
start. From left to right: Michael Carter (USA), Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh
(Mongolia), Robin Reid (New Zealand), Eddy Hollands (Australia). (Photo: Anton
main competition this year? We knew it would be Giant. They have Dave McCann who
made a MAJOR error the year before whilst in the Leaders Jersey, and Ghader
Mizbahni, ALWAYS a threat. Paul Griffin is also a very good rider, so he too
could not be over looked.
a rainy day, a day before the race started after traveling from the four corners
of the world the team members met at the Olympic park hotel in Seoul. The
world's first real global cycling team was once again made up of many different
nationalities. We had Jamsran Ulzii-Orshikh (Oggi) from Mongolia, Michael Cater
from USA, Robin Reid from New Zealand, Rene Van Oord from Holland, Eddy Hollands
and Rhys Pollock from Australia. The Manager was Bob Buker a Dutch-Canadian, the
Coach Peter Coates a Kiwi-Dane and the Mechanic was Anton van Grinsven a
Anton, our mechanic had some work to do! The new team bikes arrived in Korea, so
most of the team could change their "normal" Trek bikes for beautiful
new bikes in the Marco Polo Cycling Team design including the Chinese character
and dragon! These are the Trek Madone frames, the same as Discovery Channel is
racing in the Tour de France. If they are good enough for them, they sure are
good enough for us! Together with the great Bontrager wheels they make super
bicycles, light, stiff and fast!
whole team is looking forward to race these super-machines!!
7: Prologue, 1.4 km.
Reid from New Zealand with his Marco Polo Cycling Team - Trek bicycle. (Photo:
Anton van Grinsven)
next day we woke up to a brilliant sunny day.
The Tour de Korea 2005 began with a short gut busting 1.4km prologue at
the Seoul Armed Forces Athletic grounds. I was not too concerned about this TT
at all, especially given the new and improved stages of this years tour - in
particular, the last stage which was to feature 231 K's. (To be honest, I never
thought we would ever ride that distance. Much too long). A prologue with four
corners and a little short hill favored the local riders from Korea. The Koreans
took the top three places, and our best Marco Polo rider was Eddy Hollands
coming 16th 6 seconds of the winning time. I finished a "fab" 64th,
but much better than previous attempts at this prologue!
8: Stage 1 Seoul-Chun Chon 167.1km
one and day two the race started in overcast sky out side the Olympic park in
Seoul. The air smelt of fish, as
there was shrimp vender selling shrimp noodle soup at the start of the race -
common place in Asia, that odor.
stage was going to be a long 167km that passed over two big climbs. First on the
attack was Oggi who with a Japanese rider managed a gap of over 3 minutes. Oggi
took the first mountain points, but by the time the second climb was reached
both riders had been caught by the bunch.
Oggi up front, there was no need to attack or instigate anything at all. So the
rest of the Marco Polo squad just followed all the moves. As Oggi and his
companion were scooped up, the race started new. Ghader Mizbahni of Giant
attacked super hard up to the second KOM, and we all just let him go. WAY TOO
hard for anyone else to follow Ghader. I knew that I could not afford to go
after him, so I stayed with Tomayo Kano from Shimano, Dave McCann from Giant and
few others, and waited until the last few 100 meters before going after the
remaining KOM points. I did go, but I think it was Mr. Watanabe of Shimano who
threw in a formidable attack, and beat me with NO problem for the 2nd place KOM
points. Rats. But I did feel quite good, so that was a positive.
Tour de Korea 2005 at the hilly and sometimes mountainous roads of Korea.
(Photo: Anton van Grinsven)
hit the last and final rollers of the stage after the descent, and then it was
attack after attack. This year, the stage included an extra 30 K's which wrapped
around the reservoir of Chun Cheon - these last 30k were flat, but twisty and on
narrow roads. GREAT place to attack, actually. Sure enough, they came! Eddy
Hollands was DRIVING it up there. Ended up with a nice group of about 9 riders.
Not one single Giant rider. BUT, Giant did an excellent job of chasing the break
down - but just barely. It was with less that one K that the break with Eddy was
caught. Rats - but Eddy, Rhys and myself survived the stage to make it into the
first group. Oggi suffered the effects of his long break away, Rene was hurtin'.
Robin, whose group was mis-directed in the final K's, has not had the racing
just yet, so he will be improving throughout the race I am certain.
9: Stage 2 Chun Chon-Yang Yang 160km
two and day three saw more big climbs with the last climb being over 1000 meter
high. This turned out to be THE stage that defined the G.C. Eddy followed a move
put in by Ahad and then Rhys followed another counter by an Uzbek rider. I was
watching our biggest threat, Dave McCann. At around about the 70km mark, Dave
made a move to bridge to the break that contained Eddy and Rhys, and just as I
was to pursue Dave, I punctured! Rats AGAIN! And we hardly ever flat with our
Vredestein Fortezza's... It took what seemed an eternity to get a wheel -
thankfully, Oggi was there, but by the time I took Oggi's wheel, it was much too
late to try to go after Dave. With Eddy and Rhys up the road, and Dave McCann in
pursuit, we had to put all our hopes and dreams for another victory at the Tour
De Korea with Eddy and Rhys. Long
story short, Dave McCann bridged the gap, and that group built a lead of eight
minutes. Race over for the rest of us. Eight kilometers from the finish David
McCann from Asia Giant with two Korean riders made a break that stayed away to
the finish, David won the stage and the rest of the riders came in 14 seconds
Reid in the Tour de Korea 2005. (Photo: Anton van Grinsven)
McCann's stage win, put him in the races lead jersey, just as we did NOT want
and Eddie was lying 8th, 18 sec behind and Rhys was in 10th places 20secs
behind. The team was still in good
spirits and looked forward sleeping on the floor for next three nights.
10: Stage 3 Yang Yang-Oe Sung Jun Yang Yang 160km
3 and day four was a 4 lap circuit races around Yang Yang-Oe Sung Jun Yang Yang.
After the last two days this stage was a flat day even though it had a
very steep short climb. Other than Robin who covered a 15 rider break from the
main bunch, eventually reeled in, it was an uneventful day with no change in GC.
Still plenty of racing to go!
11: Stage 4 Yang Yang Criterium 80km
criterium in the Tour de Korea 2005. (Photo: Anton van Grinsven)
4 was an 80km criterium. Right from the start the pace was on and Marco Polo
were covering every move. I knew
this stage would not offer anything other than a nice stage win - but would do
nothing for GC classification. Robin rode a truly impressive race - ended up
2nd! He was in a break that I thought was caught at one point (that's what
happens when you are "covering the back" as I was!). That break was
being caught, and Robin countered - took a very fast Korean with him who got the
better of him in the sprint. Nonetheless, VERY impressive ride by Robin.
did an excellent job today (as they did the day before) at controlling the race.
They look awfully good.
Reid from New Zealand rode very strong in the criterium and became 2nd. (Photo:
Anton van Grinsven)
12: Stage 5 Yang Yang-Won Ju 166.km
5 we woke up to a very cold and wet Korea morning and all of us with aching
backs after 4 days of sleeping on the floor. It was this day that I felt like I
really wanted to dig deep and go for it - a bit of redemption. The stage was 166
K's and it had one big significant climb in it, which was about 20km long, the
last 8 K's at 10% grade plus which rose to over 1000 meters. We had 40 K's of
flat before the big climb so I waited, watched as Oggi, the relentless warrior
fought his way into a break, Oggi who lost about 2 liters of blood (according to
the people that took care of him after his accident... well, let it be 1
liter...) at a bicycle - car accident in Mongolia just a few weeks ago!
his form is still to come (stay tuned...)!!
eventually, it was Rhys who made the early break, only to be reeled in by a very
organized Giant team. As soon as the road tipped up and I saw a weak point in
the Giant team, I attacked. Ahad, the current KOM leader tried to hang with me,
but I dropped him easily. I loved the weather conditions - fog, so thick that
you could not see more than 50 meters. I hammered away, built a lead of over one
minute by the KOM.
Commisaire felt like the conditions for the descent would be too treacherous and
dangerous, so when I reached the summit, he neutralized the race! The Commisaire
waited until all the field arrived at the summit, then we all descended to the
bottom, in the sake of safety. Bummer for me because I was READY - ready for one
of those epic rides. As it turned out though, the descent was in the sun! The
climb was all on the coastal side of Korea and the descent on the inland
environs. Very common to see the "environs" or inland areas, warmer
and with better weather than the coastal regions of any country.
story short; the officials started us all at the bottom of the descent (after a
very nice rest) with the same time gaps as set from the top of the climb. I
decided to just "chill," let the 4 GIANT riders with McCann, Eddy and
others catch me. No sense in beating my head against the wall now. I did end up
6th, Eddy moved to 3rd on GC, and I managed to climb into 2nd on the KOM GC.
Rhys still in 10th.
Pollock rides a local transport bicycle in Korea. (Photo: Anton van Grinsven)
13: Stage 6 Won Ju-Ha Nam. 231km (shorten to 131km)
number 6 on paper looked a very difficult stage; it was going to be 230km long
with a big climb around the 180km mark. This stage would be the final say in the
bike race, but this was not to be. Unfortunately for us the stage was shorted
due to a big festival at the planned finishing town.
The longer the better for us. So it goes. I really do not think that we
could uproot Dave McCann from his Leaders Jersey had the stage remained as
originally planned. MG X Power sure thought they could, but that just goes to
show you that some teams do not really "get it."
stayed the same but Marco Polo lost their 2nd place on team GC and end up third
behind Asia Giant and Seoul City. Rhys
was 10th overall and if he found five seconds he would have been 6th overall.
Michael ended up 2nd in the mountain classification.
though we did not win the tour and it was a great ride by Eddie, we were all
contented to spend the last evening drinking beer and listening to the string
quartet at the final prices ceremony and we were happy to sit round a table
knowing that we were going to sleep in real beds for the last night in Seoul.
would like to thank our friends from the Korean Cycling Federation for their
hospitality and another well organised Tour de Korea!
David McCann (Giant)
Stuart Shaw (MG XPower pb Big Pond)
Eddy Hollands (Marco Polo Cycling Team)
Ahad Kazemi (Giant)
Jang Sun Jae (National Military physical training unit) 22.06.28
Kim Jae In (Seoul City)