Hong Kong cycling ace Wong Kam-po failed to retain his Tour of Taiwan title but at least had the satisfaction of finishing on the podium again. Kam-po had to compete against a stronger field, who were out to take away the title he won impressively in 1996. This time, Kam-po, who recently turned 24, did not have many things going for him when he finished second overall in the nine-stage tour which started late last month. For one thing, he did not have national coach Shen Jinkang with him as the former Chinese coach could not obtain a visa to visit Taiwan. 'Without my coach, I felt a bit empty. I needed my coach to be there with me all the time because I need his advice and guidance,' said Kam-po. 'It felt funny to compete without him. I made a few fundamental mistakes during the tour.' Even though Kam-po probably would not have beaten tour champion Mike Carter of the United States had Shen gone, the Hong Kong number one rider said he would have given Carter a better race. 'In the end, I finished more than three minutes behind Carter. I think with proper guidance from my coach, I would have finished a lot closer. 'Carter is a very experienced rider in his 30s and he taught me a thing or two about riding,' said Kam-po. Hong Kong Cycling Association sports executive Walter Yue Ka-lok said: 'It was always going to be hard for Kam-po to retain his title. 'With stronger opposition and without the guidance of his coach, it was going to be an uphill task for him. Kam-po still did very well to finish second overall. He lost to a very experienced rider.' And Kam-po was pleased with his second place. He will now concentrate on his next international race, the Marlboro Tour of the Philippines, which starts next month. 'Things could have gone a lot worse for me in Taiwan. I'm pleased to have finished second although winning would have been much better,' he said. Overall Hong Kong's performance in Taiwan was encouraging, according to Yue. 'Man Wai-chung finished 14th overall. He finished 31st last year so it was quite an achievement even though he had undergone nine months of strict training. 'He would have finished among the top 10 if he had not fallen and damaged his back wheel gears in the eighth stage. Ng Kwok-wah finished 29th which is not a bad result considering he's a policeman by profession and did not have much time to train,' he said.