Mike Cuming (Rapha Condor JLT) – Tour de Korea victory
Overcoming illness, and with ambitions only to try for a stage victory and support team-mate Richard Handley in Asia, Mike Cuming was not expected to make waves at this year’s Tour de Korea. However, Cuming – at the time the national under-23 champion – performed strongly in the opening stages, finishing fourth in stage one and seventh on a mountain-top finish in Yeongju on stage three – a day Handley found himself almost five minutes back.
Having assumed the role of team leader, Cuming rose to the challenge – buoyed by his team finishing third in the team time trial to place him fifth overall after five stages. The following day – the Tour’s Queen Stage – Cuming joined an early breakaway, and after discovering he had become virtual leader followed DS Tom Southam’s instructions to ‘give it everything’, finishing with the breakaway to overturn a 3’05” deficit to the previous leader, Hong Kong’s Cheung Kinglok.
Cuming lost two of his team-mates on the same day and entered the final stage with just Handley for company after losing another on the penultimate day. Nevertheless, Cuming finished safely in the bunch – ahead of Cheung – to earn what he called the biggest win of his career.