The rays of sun beaming down from the heavens still could not evaporate the mist of forthcoming devastation that enshrouded the peloton. Based on the same stage last year, some riders must have known their fate well before clipping in for the 148 kilometer contest of heart versus ability.
ProTeam Lampre-Merida meticulously closed down a dangerous two-man break in the final kilometres of today’s 160.7km second stage – the racest longest – but their final lead-out was not enough to overcome the strength of Korean sprinter Sung Baek Park, who secured enough bonus seconds to leap into the overall race lead.
Regular readers will have first seen Ryota Nishizono pop up on Cycling iQ during last year’s Tour of Japan. Then riding for Bridgestone Anchor, Ryota went on to win his country’s elite men’s time trial championships before being picked up by ProContinental team, Champion System Pro Cycling, before the start of the 2013 season.
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.
Newly upgraded to UCI2.1 status for 2013, the 16th edition of the Tour of Japan looks certain to be a cracking race. From 19-26 May, 16 teams, including Italian ProTeam Lampre-Merida, will tackle a challenging 582-kilometre parcours which is not to be underestimated.
Champion System Pro Cycling Team today advanced its position as the leading investor in Asian road cycling talent with the addition of reigning national champions Ryota Nishizono (Time Trial, Japan) and Chanjae Jang (Road Race, Korea). China’s Xu Gang, who also recently renewed his national champion status, returns for his second season in a team … Continue reading
Earlier this week, 11 Japanese riders and personnel quietly left the Tour of China amidst a tense Sino-Japan landscape which continues to make broadsheet headlines. The group’s departure was either elected or forced, depending on which of the few related reports are accepted as true. Cycling iQ spoke with two of the group for additional insight.
A reported 120,000 people were clumped and dotted along the seven kilometer circuit hosting today’s final Tour of Japan stage in Hibiya district, Tokyo. A bunch sprint, won by Aisan Racing Team’s Taiji Nishitani, was the perfect finalé for the gathered crowd, following a week of unpredictable and thrilling racing.
Sure, Friday’s stage up Fujisan was steep, but today’s 146.4 kilometer course was thirteen times longer with three times more elevation gain. Tour of Japan’s fifth stage took place in “a bicycle theme park sequestered in 1.68 million square meters of natural surroundings”, otherwise known as Izu’s Japan Cycle Sports Center.
37-year old Fortunato Baliani invested forty minutes and twenty three seconds of his life and got 18 seconds back. Though other riders got better relative returns in today’s 11.4 kilometer mass-start hill climb up Fujisan, the wily Italian moved closer to the biggest prize.