Pro Cycling

2013 Tour of Japan | Stage 1: Sakai ITT

Winner of the final stage of last year’s Tour of Japan, Aisan Racing Team’s Taiji Nishitani picked up where he left off, putting his long-range sprinting ability to good use with a strong ITT performance in today’s opening stage of the 2013 Tour of Japan in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture.

TOJ2013_1-0873

Images: Sonoko Tanaka

Last year’s winner, Fortunato Baliani (Team Nippo – De Rosa), registered a solid, but not spectacular, performance, checking in 15″ behind Nishitani. KSPO’s Joon yong Seo, a stage-winner in last year’s Tour of Thailand, finished runner-up, with Nishitani’s teammate of eight years, Kazuhiro Mori, in third. The combined performance of Aisan’s riders was enough to elevate the Nagoya-based team – managed by Fumiyuki Beppu’s older brother, Takumi – into first place amongst the team rankings.

 

 

LEADERBOARD
Individual General Classification (Green jersey): Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing Team)
Points Classification (Blue jersey): Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing Team)
King of the Mountains Classification (Red jersey): N/A
Best Young Rider Classification (White Jersey): Joon yong Seo (KSPO)
Teams General Classification: Aisan Racing Team

INSIGHT FROM THE PELOTON

Ryota Nishizono (Champion System) | 13th in today’s stage; 13th on GC at 0’09″

Nippo broke the peloton in the third stage last year so, until then, it’s important for GC contenders, like me and Adiq (Othman), not to lose time. Adiq’s condition is relatively good, I think. Of course, we will do our best at the Mt Fuji stage this year. Since last year, the Shuzenji stage [CiQ: Stage 5, held at the Continental Cycling Center in Shizuoka Prefecture] is 50 kilometres longer than in the past. It’s a big difference, because it’s a very hard stage. Even after 90 kilometres, the peloton is almost broken. Every year, 10-20 riders don’t start the next day. It’s a very aggressive day. It’s difficult to beat the Nippo guys and some of the pure climbers up Mt Fuji, but we have a chance in Shuzenji to get the time back.

I’ve looked at several riders in Lampre and Vini Fantini, but not many of them are climbers; most of them are classics riders, sprinters or rouleurs. Looking at their recent results and from my experience, Nippo may again take control of this race, especially at Mt Fuji. According to my feeling at Trentino and last year’s experience, (Julián) Arredondo is stronger than the average ProTour climbers. You could see this at Langkawi; he beat every ProTour rider, so even this year we have to watch out for Nippo. From Drapac, Darren Lapthorne looks strong, I think. But only Nippo has three cards to play: Arredondo, Baliani and Compagnaro.”

Tomorrow is a transfer day, with the race convoy heading to Mino, Gifu Prefecture, approximately 250km to the northeast of Sakai. At time of writing, fair weather is expected, with temperatures forecast to be between 17-29°C.

TOJ2013_1-0120

Reigning Japan National ITT Champion, Ryota Nishizono, gets some face-time with local media.

TOJ2013_1-0130

Two of South Korea’s biggest road cycling talents, Chan jae Jang (Champion System Pro Cycling) and Sung baek Park (KSPO) catch up.

TOJ2013_1-8775

As always, the morning featured a criterium – which does not count towards the Tour of Japan classification – which was watched by an estimated 61,000 spectators.

TOJ2013_1-8979

Lampre-Merida, the sole ProTeam in the Tour of Japan – newly upgraded to 2.1 status this year – gave the organizer some bang for its buck in the criterium.

TOJ2013_1-9180

Apprehensive: Craig Lewis tentatively opens the door of his team’s car. The rain stayed, but at least the temperatures were spring-like.

TOJ2013_1-9047

Julián Arredondo (Team Nippo – De Rosa) studies the start list

TOJ2013_1-0370

A sport for young and old. Now get those clap sticks clapping!

TOJ2013_1-0624

Quite a wet day, eh mate? Drapac Cycling’s Thomas Palmer finished in 17th, 10″ behind Nishitani.

TOJ2013_1-1309

Joon yong Seo riding into 2nd place.

TOJ2013_1-0582

Kazuhiro Mori blasts off. He would finish third overall a mere three minutes and thirty-one seconds later.

TOJ2013_1-0822

Kohei Uchima, 4th placed overall after today’s stage.

TOJ2013_1-1900

Does anyone have a photo of Taiji Nishitani sans smile? One of the most consistently-happy guys in the peloton -and for especially good reason today.

TOJ2013_1-9490

TOJ2013_1-0173

The team to beat: Hideto Nakane, Julián Arredondo, Fortunato Baliani, Kohei Uchima, Simone Compagnaro, Shinichi “The Legend” Fukushima

 

STAGE 1 RESULTS

2013 ToJ SR1_1 2013 ToJ SR1_2

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE ONE

2013 ToJ GC1_1 2013 ToJ GC1_2

Discussion

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Rocacorba Daily | Cycling Tips - May 20, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 87 other followers

%d bloggers like this: