HONG KONG'S Wong Kam-po gave himself an early birthday present in winning the prestigious Tour of Taiwan by taking stage honours in the 135-kilometre final leg from Ilan to Yangmingsan yesterday. Wong, who turns 23 tomorrow, led the 1,203-kilometre series since the fourth stage and was never in any danger of being overhauled for the overall title as he stayed with his closest rivals throughout the last leg. The former Asian junior champion sprinted ahead in the final kilometre to win in 3:49:22 from Germany's Michael Schlickau and Australia's Adrian Nolan. 'I was very nervous when the race started and it was only in the last couple of kilometres that my confidence grew,' said Wong, the first Asian rider to win the overall championship in the event's seven-year history. 'I owed my success to our coach Shen Jinkang because I've learned so much from him in the past year. It's a shame he isn't here because he has to attend the National People's Congress, but he been coaching us by fax from Beijing every day.' Australian Josh Collingwood made the early running as he broke away and led by as much as five minutes but he was finally caught by the main peloton at the 100-kilometre mark. Disaster struck as the field reached a one-kilometre stretch of dug up road which caused more than 20 punctures, and in the confusion 23 riders broke free just before the final climb up Yangmingsan. The leading pack were reduced to 10 men with about 10 kilometres to go and in the dense mountain mist Wong, along with a German and a Belarussian pulled away going into the last kilometre. But his two rivals refused to lead and instead they tried to stall Wong, who then made the running himself to win. Wong's winning overall time for the 10-day, nine-stage series was 30:31:39, with Belarussians Alexandre Chaparov and Sviatoslav Riabouchenko filling the minor placings.