Updated June. 06, 2014 05:45
A cycling race begins with the background of early summer greens from Misari Regatta Park in Gyeonggi Province, a paradise for water sports, to Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province where the 2018 Winter Olympics will take place.
Tour de Korea 2014, Koreas largest international road cycling event, will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. The event hosted by the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation will start with the first route from the Misari Regatta Park in Hanam to Chungju World Martial Art Park in North Chungcheong Province (137.2 kilometers) on the first day, and will last for eight days through June 15. The entire routes reach 1,259 kilometers covering Muju in North Jeolla Province, Gurye in South Jeolla Province, Gumi and Yeongju in North Gyeongsang Province, and Pyeongchang and Yangyang in Gangwon Province. The routes are designed to include Koreas beautiful natural and landmark places. The shortest route is 82 kilometers in Yangyang (82 kilometers) on the last day of the race and the longest route is between Gurye and Gumi (208.2 kilometers) on the fourth day.
Tour de Korea, which was first held in 2007 modeled after Tour de France, has become a 2.1 race. Although it was 2.2 last year, it was successfully upgraded by the UCI, the world governing body of cycling, after seven years of experience. The number 2 in 2.x refers to a multi-day race.
With a higher race class, more competitive teams are joining the event. It invites five Korean teams and 15 teams from 12 other countries, which include Drapac (Australia) ranked third in the recent UCI World Tour The Tour Down Under. Teams are categorized into Pro Tour, Pro Continental, and Continental. Pro Tour teams can participate in the UCIs world tours such as Tour de France. As of June 2014, the UCI certifies 18 Pro Tour teams and 18 Pro Continental teams. Tour de Korea had only Continental teams until 2010 but had the first Pro Continental Team in 2011. This year, the event will have three Pro Continental teams including Drapac and last years winner MTN-Qhubeka from South Africa.
Park Sung-baek of the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation, who topped the first and sixth individual events, aims for the third win. He is expected to compete against last years champion Michael Cuming of the U.K.s Rapha Condor.