After recovering from their efforts at the first two rounds of the domestic calendar, Rapha Condor Sharp will be in action in Asia at the Tour of Korea this week.
The team had a highly successful debut Tour of Korea in 2011, with Ed Clancy taking his first ever UCI stage win, and Jonathan Tiernan Locke showing the beginnings of the form that would eventually capture him the King of the Mountains title at the Tour of Britain.
In 2012 the refocused Rapha Condor Sharp team remains ambitious for success in the UCI 2.2 event. Team manager John Herety appraised the team’s chances before leaving the UK.
“We are taking out our ‘first team’ of stage racers to Korea. We saw last year what kind of race it was, and I am sure we have a number of riders who could step up and lead the team. Of them Kristian House is the most obvious, but behind him I feel this is the kind of race that could suit guys like Jennings, Cuming or Handley.”
“There aren’t many eight day tours in Europe at this level, most are five or six days, so for those young guys this is an important stepping stone to getting that valuable experience in a longer event. It is also the kind of race where I would be confident in putting any one of our stage race guys in a position to lead the team.”
After his second place on the opening stage of a tough Tour of Doonhame, and promising fourth place overall Richard Handley will indeed be one of the riders Herety hopes will get some results to show for his current run of good form.
“Rich Handley has been in great shape all year, he has applied himself to his job well over the winter and he is in good enough shape to really feature here. So far he has been bubbling under the radar a little bit, but this week could present the opportunity for him to really show himself.”
The race covers a total of 1,086km in 8 stages, starting in Seoul and finishing in Hanam. It commences today (Sunday 22nd) with a 55km stage in the capital, before heading South via a long transfer to start stage 2.
More information and updated results can be found on the race website http://www.tourdekorea.or.kr/ or follow the team’s Twitter feed http://twitter.com/raphacondor for up to date results from the racing.