Champion System Assistant Director Franky Van Haesebroucke said he asked his riders to approach the 160.7-kilometer race on a seven-lap circuit course like a one-day race, not a stage race.
The day started with various breakaway attempts, but it was Champion System’s Jang and Ji Min Jung (Team KSPO) that finally escaped on the initial summit of the only categorized climb on the circuit. The duo eventually gained a nine-and-a-half minute lead with Jang cresting first each time over the climb.
With 40 km remaining, fellow escapee Min touched wheels with Jang and the South Korean rider crashed, leaving Jang to continue solo. With only one set of KOM points remaining, Van Haesebroucke said the South Korean national road champion fought to survive. After claiming the points, Jang was quickly swept up by the peloton.
Champion System’s Ryoto Nishizono launched a last-minute bid to win the stage along with four other riders, but they were brought back two kilometers from the finish, setting up a bunch sprint. Sung Baek Park (Team KSPO) won, while Champion System’s Adiq Othman finished ninth. Park’s win moved him into the overall leader’s jersey.
The eight-day race continues Wednesday with a 148-km circuit course around Minamishinshuku with one categorized climb.
At the finish, Chan Jae Jang had traded his South Korean national road champion jersey for the red jersey of king of the mountains. (Champion System Pro Cycling Team photo.)