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.
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.
Whether it’s circuit races in industrial zones, or sterile city-to-city stages, some of the racing in this season’s AsiaTour has lacked a certain optical energy. This has been most evident when a parcours is the product of staid political influence. So it’s great when a stage race breaks from the mold with a little bit of … Continue reading
Can a 150 meter climb be a decisive element of a 148 kilometer stage? Surely not! What if those 148 kilometers were the aggregate of a 12.2km circuit completed 12 times, with that same climb featuring on every lap? That might hurt.
Former Giro d’Italia stage runner-up Maximiliano Richeze presented Team Nippo its first Tour of Japan stage win from a clean bunch sprint in Mino city (Gifu Prefecture) today, following the calculated capture of a plucky local duo who gave their utmost to run away with the spoils.
2012 Tour Down Under stage winner Will Clarke has given his Champion System Pro Cycling team a much-needed victory in its home region, winning today’s Tour of Japan prologue in Sakai. Better yet, teammate Cameron Wurf placed second, cementing the Chinese team’s favourite status on merit of its second-division cachet.
Following visits to Oman, Qatar, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Korea and Iran, the 2012 UCI AsiaTour finally lands in Japan; one of Asia’s true cycling culture centers. Having missed 2011 due to Japan’s natural disasters, Tour of Japan is back for its 15th edition.