UCI Asia Tour – Tight battle in the Tour of Taiwan
The Tour of Taiwan provided the highlight in March with the American John Murphy emerging victorious by the tightest of margins in cold pre-summer weather.
An expanded race of eight stages, the Tour of Taiwan got off to a splendid start with Wong Kam Po of the Hong Kong national team registering the first of his two stage wins in a bunch sprint on the scenic Love River 88 kilometre criterium.
Wong, 34, also won the penultimate stage to emerge sixth in the general classification and third in the Asian riders’ classification.
Murphy (Health Net Presented by Maxxis) seized the overall lead on the second stage and kept it to the finish, beating compatriot and Team Type 1 rider Shawn Milne by a mere 10 seconds. Murphy also proved by far the best sprinter, winning the points classification as well with a 22 point margin over second placed Japanese rider Takashi Miyazawa of the Meitan Hompo-GDR team.
There was however no denying Miyazawa the Asian riders’ title, albeit by a very slight two second margin, over compatriot Taiji Nishitani of the Aisan Racing Team. Home team Giant Asia Racing Team, proved too strong in the battle for the overall teams classification, edging out the Netherlands registered Skil-Shimano, who featured an all-Japanese line-up, by a 15 seconds margin.
All top Asian riders will now prepare for the biggest event in April, the Asian Cycling Championships in Nara, Japan from April 15 to 17.