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‘Dream Race’ for amateur cyclists to kick off on Saturday

‘Dream Race’ for amateur cyclists to kick off on Saturday

Posted October. 12, 2016 08:54,   

Updated October. 12, 2016 09:00

Participation in the event itself validates one as an experienced cyclist. The Tour de Korea 2016 Special, dubbed "Dream Race" for millions of amateur cyclists, will kick off on Saturday.

The race, which is co-hosted by the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation and The Dong-A Ilbo, will take place in Geochang County (114 kilometers) on Saturday, Sancheong County (100 kilometers) on Sunday, and Hamyang County (103 kilometers) on Monday in South Gyeongsang Province. Considering that elite cyclists ride about 150 kilometers per day in an international cycling competition, the race entails a challenging distance for amateur cyclists.

The Tour de Korea Special competition took place together with Tour de Korea, the only cycling race authorized by the International Cyclists Union in Korea. As the competition was held separately from 2013, the cycling race took place in South Jeolla Province in 2013, Jeju Province in 2014, and South Chungcheong Province in 2015, and is set to happen in South Gyeongsang Province this year.

More than 100 cycling competitions for amateur cyclists take place nationwide every year, but Tour de Korea Special is the only competition that is officially hosted by the Korean Cycling Federation in line with the UCI regulations.

The competition imposes strict eligibility requirements for participants. Only amateur cyclists who rank among the top 300 in terms of points they acquired in a given year in the "Masters’ Cycling Tour," which the Korean Cycling Federation launched in 2013, are eligible to join the competition. The number of participating teams in this year’s event has increased three to 25 teams year-on-year. Each team can comprise four to six members, and most teams take part in the event as groups of six members each.

“Other competitions are convened according to local rules but Tour de Korea Special is held at the same standard of rules as international competitions,” said Jang Eun-gi, the Korean Cycling Federation’s referee director who serves as the chief referee in the upcoming race. “Because the competition is not meant for profit and amateur cyclists are participating to win recognition for their performance, the skills and performance of participants are generally semiprofessional or higher levels.”

The categories for awards at the competition are the same as those of Tour de Korea, the international elite cyclist competition. The race honors No. 1 racers in respective sections, singles out the winner of mountainous cycling, the winner of sprint cycling, the best young rider and a group team, and selects the overall winner of individuals’ race and the winners’ group based on total points earned in the three sections. Participants must undergo five mountainous sections for three days. There is only one mountainous section in the Geochang course, but since the slant is relatively steeper, participants will likely have tough time from Day 1.

The races for respective sections, which kick off at 10 a.m. daily, will be webcast live on Tour de Korea website (www.tourdekorea.or.kr).

이승건기자 why@donga.com