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'Tour de Korea 2016' to start with global pro teams joining

'Tour de Korea 2016' to start with global pro teams joining

Posted May. 24, 2016 07:41,   

Updated May. 24, 2016 07:47

"Tour de Korea 2016," which marks its 10th year since its launch, will open on June 5. Previously having been hosted by the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation, the event will be jointly held by The Dong-A Ilbo starting this year.

Participating players at "Tour de Korea 2016" will start at the yacht stadium in Suyeong, Busan, pass Gunsan, Daejeon, Asan and Chungju to finish in Seoul on June 12. With seven cities as footholds, athletes will be running eight sections for a total of 1,229 kilometers. The second section, which continues from Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province to North Chungcheong Province, to Gunsan in North Jeolla Province, ranges 243.6 kilometers, the longest for a one-day course. While most other sections take three to four hours, this section is expected to take more than six hours.

Among the eight sections, two are mountain-climbing courses, which are Buhangnyeong in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, and Mt. Unjang in Jinan, North Jeolla Province. "A course exceeding 200 kilometers a day is a long distance rarely found in European competitions. Mountain courses are also long," said Kim Seong-joo, a former national cycling member and former vice chairman of the Korea Cycling Federation. "It will be a painful day for athletes and this section will determine the winners."

Among 20 teams participating in the event where six Korean teams are included, there are five pro continental teams among a total of 23 teams across the world. June is when massive road-cycling events are held. Given that five pro continental teams including a team from Europe, which is the hometown of cycling, in joining, "Tour de Korea 2016" can be said to have been regarded as top class event in Asia.

"Tour de Korea 2016" is Korea's first and sole international road competition, which was held in 2.2. class from 2007 to 2013, but raised to Asia Tour 2.1 class in 2014. In 2.1, 2 means stage race of more than two days instead of a one-day race, while 1 refers to the grade of competition.

Meanwhile, "Wheel Festival" that was cancelled last year due to MERS will be held at Daejeon World Cup Stadium on June 7 and in Olympic Park in Seoul on June 11 and 12.

이승건기자 why@donga.com