The Rapha Condor Sharp team arrived back in the UK after a dramatic eight days of racing at the Tour of Korea.
With one stage annulled due to torrential rain and another touted as ‘one of the worst stages in cycling history’ in terms of rider safety, the RCS boys were happy to return with some solid racing, and all in one piece.
The team’s three top tens and a respectable 13th place overall for Richard Lang were satisfactory, however the most impressive riding of the week came from Kristian House. The former national road race champion was involved in the action throughout the week and on two stages formed race long breakaways which came agonisingly close to taking a brave stage win on both occasions.
“On stage 3 I was away from 5km and ended up getting caught with under 5km to go. The stage was hard with two decent climbs, and with 25km to go I thought it was on the cards. But all of a sudden when we still had two minutes inside the last 20km a bunch of the Asian guys started sitting on. I attacked the group a bunch of times to get clear, but they rode me down each time. It was frustrating.”
House came even closer to his first win of the year on stage 7 when he showed sensational form splitting the race apart on a 5.6km climb and taking three other riders clear. The long gradual descent to the finish after the last climb however suited the chasers over the escape, and House was once again thwarted well inside the final 10km.
Kristian House earlier in the year at the Clayton Velo Spring Classic.
As much as luck refused to be on House’s side for a stage win, on stage 5 he had been fortunate to avoided catastrophe when a race motorbike clipped his elbow at 70km/h before colliding with the rider in front of him. The incident was one of three major crashes involving race marshals that day, and along with many riders House was vocal in his criticism of the race organisation.
“The moto rider was on a Harley, weaving in and out of riders on the climb, coming on the inside of us on corners, almost as if he were just having fun driving in a police-enclosed area.”
Team manager John Herety also commented on the lack of safety at the event, but was full of praise for his riders for attitude coming through such a tough race.
“The safety of the riders at time was an issue, but there was also treacherous weather at the start of the week. The boys all rode impressed me; Kristian and Mike (Cuming) were both particularly good. It was really wierd racing, we covered every move but nothing would stick. It was a dramatic week, but we have come out of it really well.”
The team’s next event will be the Tour of the Reservoir this Sunday. It is the third counting round in the Premier Calendar series and the team will be looking to capitalise on the good form shown over the past week.