The 6th stage of the Tour de Korea saw two riders, our Martin Wesemann and Kyung-Gu Jang (Korail Cycling Team), battle it out for the stage win after they dispatched the 12 other riders that formed part of the days early breakaway. On the line it was Jang that took the prized victory as Wesemann rolled across the line in 2nd, making that 3 stage podiums in 3 days for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung after Kristian Sbaragli took 2nd on stage 4 and Johann van Zyl 3rd on yesterdays stage 5. Richard Handley (Rapha Condor JLT) led the chasers home in 3rd place today.
The 14 escapees got away after just 10km’s of racing. With 8 of the top 10 riders on GC having a representative in the break, the move was allowed some breathing space. With a 5 minute gap and 70km’s to go, the breakaway’s chances looked really good as there was still no real chase coming from behind. Over the final 40km’s the road gradually rose all the way to the finish with 2 category 4 climbs providing launch pads for the escapees to attack one another.
With 22km to go Wesemann made the stages decisive move over the penultimate climb of the day, Jang was able to tag onto the South African riders wheel and the duo then forged ahead. Working well together, Wesemann and Jang were able to put a minute into the chase group that was splintering behind them. Wesemann tried to get away from Jang with 7km to go but the Korean rider was able to reel in the MTN-Qhubeka rider and then pip him to the line as well.
The group that contained all the GC favourites came in over 4 minutes down on the winners but it was by no means a large group either. The race had splintered all over the road in the final km’s and at the end of the day all but 10 of the GC riders lost time today. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had both it’s GC contenders, Tsgabu Grmay and Dennis van Niekerk finish as part of the favourites group and in doing so, both riders moved into the top 10 on GC, 16 seconds behind the yellow jersey.
Directeur Sportif – Kevin Campbell
It was another frustrating 2nd place today but that is bike racing. We have managed to whittle the real GC contenders down to 10 riders. Dennis and Tsgabu are riding well so we hope our plan comes together and we can take a firm grip on the GC tomorrow. Youcef unfortunately abandoned today. He has been really tired and he had nothing left in his tank up the first climb today. Tomorrow we have a to turn the almosts into a victory.
(Image: Aaron Lee)