OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team’s strong performance in team time trial launches Sheppard up Best Young Rider standings
13 June 2013 – THE OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team’s Eric Sheppard jumped up a spot into second place in the Best Young Rider competition at the Tour de Korea after the team’s solid showing in Thursday’s Stage 5, which consisted of a 25.5-kilometre team time trial.
The OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team finished 11th in a time of 36:20, successfully making up ground in the latter part of the stage after recording a first time split that ranked 13th. The OCBC riders, who averaged 42.11 km/h on the day, finished 1:01 behind stage winner MTN-Qhubeka from South Africa.
The team time trial format tests the teamwork and balance of a team’s cyclists, who take turns serving as the lead rider and allowing teammates to draft behind them.
Team Hong Kong China placed eighth in a time of 36:14 to allow Cheung Kinglok to maintain his perch atop the General Classification and Best Young Rider standings. However, the team’s Chan Yatwai, who began the day second in the Best Young Rider classification, finished past the cut-off time and is not eligible to continue racing. This allowed Sheppard, a 22-year-old Australian, to leapfrog into second place in the chase for the white jersey, 3:17 behind Cheung.
Sheppard is bidding for his second straight white jersey, after claiming the award at the Tour de Kumano last month.
“It was a tough circuit with two challenging climbs early on,” said Justin Cheong, team manager of the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team. “The plan was to ride steadily up the two climbs so as not to lose anybody before the end of the second climb.
After that, the boys put in a tremendous effort all the way to the end, and I was happy overall with the time we clocked.”
The OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team remained eighth out of the 20 squads in the Team General Classification rankings. Sheppard currently ranks sixth in the GC standings, followed by Thomas Rabou in 11th, new signing Jason Christie in 43rd, Luke Parker in 88th and Low Ji Wen in 89th. Sheppard and Parker are stagiaires, that is, amatuers riding temporarily for a professional team as a tryout. They are competing in the OCBC colours as part of an exchange programme with the search2retain powered by health.com.au team from Australia.
The Tour de Korea continues on Friday with the 184.7-kilometre Stage 6, also the longest stage of the race. The stage, which takes the field from Pyeongchang to Yangyang on Korea’s northeastern coast, begins with a unique 700-metre descent, followed immediately by a Category 1 climb. The race ends with a long, largely downhill descent that provides the peloton with an opportunity to reel in the breakaway before the finish line.
About OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team
The OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team was first founded in 2009 as an amateur club team with the mission to develop and promote Singapore cycling. The team has today turned into a full-fledged professional cycling team and established itself as the premier road developmental team for cycling talent in Singapore. Being the first and only professional cycling outfit out of Singapore, the team has been licensed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (“UCI”) as a UCI Continental Cycling Team since 2012. Riders from the team have been crowned champions or stage winners in races such as the Tour of California KOM, Tour of Siam, Tour de Kumamo, Tour of Filipinas and Tour of Thailand.