Victory in Korea: Richard Handley Wins Stage 2
Richard Handley took the yellow jersey at the Tour of Korea following a brilliant stage win on the race's second stage today.
Handley took his first win of the season after perfectly calculating his effort in a three man break that escaped after 40km of the 197km stage, and survived to fight out the win at the end of a tough day's racing.
Having helped his teammate Mike Cuming to overall victory last year, Handley was delighted to add another international win to his palmares.
"I am really happy to take the win here and get off to a good start. We had a great race here last year, with Mike taking the win, and we've come back with an even stronger team this year."
"It was a really aggressive start, and when we went clear I knew that it was a matter of riding as easily as we could to make sure we had something left if the gap was still big enough to go for the win in the last 40km."
"The gap went out to nearly six minutes and then came down quickly inside the last 50km, but then we really put our heads down and we started pulling time back out of the bunch."
The pressure applied by Handley and former winner Park Sungbaek saw off erstwhile companion Lee Kisuk, as the peloton disintegrated behind and a chasing group of twenty riders emerge at the head of the bunch. Rapha Condor JLT remained in the driving seat however, as Cuming, Porter and Carthy all made it into the select group.
"We still had 1'45" with 5km to but Park was cramping so the group behind came back quite fast. Because we'd timed our effort though, I still had plenty in the tank and in the end we held on and I knew I had it when we hit the red kite with forty seconds."
The group was lead home by stage one winner Gregar Bole of Nippo, with the three other Rapha Condor JLT riders close behind, giving the Men in Black the lead in the team competition.
"We will still have to take the race day by day. We saw last year how hard a race this is to control, but we have a strong team here so we will be looking to defend the jersey as best as possible."
Handley now has a 34" lead over Bole, with Neil Van der Ploeg of Avanti racing 42" back.
The race continues tomorrow with a 161km stage fro Muju to Gurye.
Gallery of stage one is on the Rapha Condor JLT Facebook page.