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Japan Cup
« on: October 18, 2017, 09:13 »
Japan Cup

As the cycling season comes to an end this weekend, all eyes will be on Utsunomiya, where the last major one day race of the 2017 season takes place: the 26th edition of the Japan Cup. It is held on the same race course as the 1990 UCI World Championships. Alberto Contador will be around, but apparently only for the criterium preceding the race, before heading over to the after party, where #fantini Marco Canola will balance a wine glass on his head.



There's some racing as well though, and - as mentioned above - not only on Sunday, but also the day before, as the biggest cycling event in Japan consists not only of the road race but also of a criterium taking place in the city of Utsunomiya. The criterium is run since 2010 and in the past years it attracted over 30000 spectators.

It may be even more now, given that they could celebrate a home winner with Fumiyuki Beppu two years in a row - but they'll cheer for everyone anyway, no matter what. :cheer

YEAR 1st 2nd 3rd
2016      *jp   BEPPU Fumiyuki      *es   ABERASTURI Jon      *it   MORI Manuele
2015      *jp   BEPPU Fumiyuki      *gb   SWIFT Ben      *au   VON HOFF Steele
2014      *au   SUTTON Chris      *au   VON HOFF Steele      *gb   SWIFT Ben
2013      *au   VON HOFF Steele      *at   EISEL Bernhard      *it   TRENTIN Matteo
2012      *pl   MARYCZ Jaroslaw      *jp   BEPPU Fumiyuki      *au   MCEWEN Robbie

The road race on Sunday attracts even more people though, 75000 spectators are expected to come to the Utsunomiya Forest and support the riders on the road side. Usually, as introduced in 1992, the race consisted of ten laps on the 14,1km Forest Park circuit and a final lap of 10,3km heading to the finish in Utsunomiya. Due to a typhoon damaging parts of the course two years ago, the organizers had to change it and go for 14 laps on the 10.3km circuit instead - and as it turned out to be a great race, they decided to stick to that course design.

The biggest climb on the circuit is the Kogashi, featuring an altitude difference of 185m over less than 2km. As they have to do it 14 times now instead of 11 in the past, and with less flat road in between, the race is obviously harder than in the years before 2015.

Still, it's very open and most kind of riders have a chance to win, as you can see in 2015's result, when basically a pure climber won, but Arashiro still finished in 3rd, who is more of a puncheur than a particularly good climber.

YEAR 1st 2nd 3rd
2017      *it   VILLELLA Davide      *dk   JUUL-JENSEN Chris      *au   POWER Rob
2016      *nl   MOLLEMA Bauke      *it   ULISSI Diego      *jp   ARASHIRO Yukiya
2015      *jp   BEPPU Fumiyuki      *gb   SWIFT Ben      *au   VON HOFF Steele
2014      *au   SUTTON Chris      *au   VON HOFF Steele      *gb   SWIFT Ben
2013      *au   VON HOFF Steele      *at   EISEL Bernhard      *it   TRENTIN Matteo

There used to not many changes among the participating teams over the past years, but this time with Lampre/UAE, Orica and Sky three of the usual suspects didn't turn up, only replaced by Lotto Jumbo.
  • #bmc BMC RACING TEAM
  • #cannondale CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING TEAM
  • #jumbo TEAM LOTTO NL - JUMBO
  • #trek TREK-SEGAFREDO
  • #nippo NIPPO - VINI FANTINI
  • #novonordisk TEAM NOVO NORDISK
  • #attaque ATTAQUE TEAM GUSTO   
  • #bridgestone BRIDGESTONE ANCHOR CYCLING TEAM
  • #kinan KINAN CYCLING TEAM
  • #powertag MATRIX POWERTAG
  • #nasu NASU BLASEN
  • #ukyo TEAM UKYO
  • #blitzen UTSUNOMIYA BLITZEN
  • #teamjp TEAM JAPAN
So the number of participants is relatively low for such a high profile race, and even lower now - but those who do participate, often bring really good teams to Japan. #cannondale Davide Villella & Davide Formolo, #trek Jasper Stuyven, #bmc Richie Porte, #jumbo Enrico Battaglin & Juanjo Lobato and #nippo Damiano Cunego are among those confirmed to participate. The Japan Cup weekend will not only mark the last race for Alberto Contador by the way, but this is also the case for #bmc Martin Elmiger.

Additionally, there will be a "Criterium Special Team" for Saturday only. #dimension Nathan Haas will be part of that team, and also the Japanese cyclo-crosser Kosaka Hikaru. The former king of the criterium, Steel von Hoff, who has been on the podium plenty of times, unfortunately will not be around this year again though.

The criterium is broadcasted live but unfortunately there are only highlights (and only ~two weeks after) for the road race.
  • Criterium / Saturday, October 21st - Live
    • *jp JSPORTS 4: 3:00pm - 5:30pm jst (08:00 - 10:30 cest)
  • Road Race / Friday, November 3rd - Highlights
    • *jp JSPORTS 3: 11:00pm - 12:30am jst (14:00 - 15:30 cet)
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    Re: Japan Cup
    « Reply #1 on: October 18, 2017, 10:56 »
    I love this race and I get the feeling the riders do too. The crowds and fans make it really special.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Japan Cup
    « Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 11:36 »
    Two editions I remember:


    1996 I discovered this race because it was part of the World Cup which back then consisted of 11 classics, all of them equal in its point system: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_UCI_Road_World_Cup

    So the Japan Cup equalled Paris-Roubaix. No need to remember the then winner who is currently working for the oil dictators at UAE. One of the biggest aliens of the nineties.


    2004 Damiano Cunego and Paolo Bettini were fighting for UCI #1, the former had just won the Tour of Lombardy and was defending champion at the Japan Cup. So he only needed a place among the first 4 to keep his rank. He was second to a big crook.  ;)


    I'm however glad to see that the very first winner was Hendrik Redant in 1992 for Lotto, shortly after his amazing win at Paris-Tours (back then still a great classic).  #lotto :)
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  • "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

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    Re: Japan Cup
    « Reply #3 on: October 18, 2017, 11:57 »
    I love this race and I get the feeling the riders do too. The crowds and fans make it really special.

    yeah, Japan is special in so many ways. I think they like it, and the race has found its deserved place in the calendar over the years - although two or three teams more and a bit of live coverage wouldn't hurt...
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Japan Cup
    « Reply #4 on: October 18, 2017, 17:20 »
    As the cycling season comes to an end this weekend, all eyes will be on Utsunomiya, where the last major one day race of the 2017 season takes place: the 26th edition of the Japan Cup.
    Wait a moment, so this race is held at the same time as the Tour of Guangxi? :S
    Who in their right mind would put two high-profile races in two neighbouring countries that are far away from most cyclists' home countries, and held at a time when the majority of cyclists have finished their seasons already, not following each other, but overlapping?! :o :fp

    That is so overwhelmingly idiotic.
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    Echoes

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    Re: Japan Cup
    « Reply #5 on: October 18, 2017, 19:42 »
    Correction regarding my post. Cunego did not win the Japan Cup in 2003 but was 6th. Still he had to defend that 6th place the following year and it could mean losing the #1 rank to Bettini. At some point Bettini considered battling it out at Firenze-Pistoia but recalled the decision. It was a thrilling end to the 2004 season. The Japan Cup had never been so much the focus of attention since the World Cup status in 1996. Unfortunately, the Pro Tour (renamed World Tour) was created right afterwards.  :(



    By the way, I found a brief excerpt of Hendrik Redant's 1992 win. It seems very surprising that such a rough solidly built rider could win on such route but the field was not so impressive that year. (rewarded with a jersey ???)

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    Re: Japan Cup
    « Reply #6 on: October 19, 2017, 08:30 »
    The criterium is broadcasted live but unfortunately there are only highlights (and only ~two weeks after) for the road race.
    • Criterium / Saturday, October 21st - Live
      • *jp JSPORTS 4: 3:00pm - 5:30pm jst (08:00 - 10:30 cest)
    • Road Race / Friday, November 3rd - Highlights
      • *jp JSPORTS 3: 11:00pm - 12:30am jst (14:00 - 15:30 cet)

    and another correction... ;)

    The road race on Sunday is live this time on JSports' website - apparently it's geo restricted, but maybe there will be another stream available then.

    Additionally, on Friday the team presentation will be broadcasted live on Youtube
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    Re: Japan Cup
    « Reply #7 on: October 21, 2017, 12:37 »
    #nippo Marco Canolo won today's criterium ahead of #jumbo Juanjo Lobato and #bmc Bram Welten



    apparently there was a crash in the finale and maybe Canola benefited a bit from that - the gap to 2nd is unusually large at least
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Japan Cup
    « Reply #8 on: October 25, 2017, 07:47 »

    New #nippo jersey just for that race? Or is this the Japanese version?
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