“The team rode big all day, so this is a team effort,” Wippert said. “We were aggressive from the start to the finish and this is the way we wanted to start this tour. I am happy with my sprint today and it is a good way to start the week.”
A break got away early in the day, rolling out to six minutes. The peloton remained composed and the time gap hovered around five minutes for the next 60km. The field came together with 5km to go, setting the stage for the much anticipated bunch sprint.
“We planned to ride as soon as needed. Gap went to six minutes so Adam (Phelan) went to work. In the second half, it hadn’t really come back so we put Bernie (Sulzberger) on the front. It came together in the final kilometers and the final sprint was pretty straight forward, except for one erratic move that caused a pile up,” Graeme Brown said.
Phelan spent the majority of the day driving the field and was pleased to see the team take the win. “We knew we had to bring some of the time back, and we did what we had to do. Wouter taking the win makes all the hard work worth it and today gives us a good start to the week,” Phelan added.
Wippert will don the leader jersey for Stage 2, which features the KOM at 71km of the 174km route. The stage should set for a sprint finish, though the slight uphill pitch at the end could force some breaks in the late stage of the race.
Stage 1- Tour de Korea
1 WIPPERT Wouter Drapac Professional Cycling
2 SEO Joon Yong KSPO
3 PARK Sung Baek KSPO
4 KO Siu Wai HKSI Pro Cycling Team
5 HO Burr HKSI Pro Cycling Team
6 ZAGORODNY Volodymyr RTS-Santic Racing Team
7 IM Jae Yeon Korea
8 KIMURA Keisuke Shimano Racing Team
9 GLASSPOOL James Team Novo Nordisk
10 HERNANDEZ Dario Burgos-BH