|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum
Kansai Cyclo-cross - C2
Yasugawa, Japan, November 26, 2006
National champion dominates
By Kei Tsuji
The second race of the Kansai-cyclo, one of the Japan's cyclo series, was held in Yasugawa, near Lake Biwa. This race was the only chance to get UCI points for domestic cyclo-cross riders, and also very important for the national team selection for the worlds in Belgium. The course is largely flat as the Yasu river runs along it, and there are some sections covered with sand.
Under the dull sky, 41 top-class Japanese riders lined up for the race, including the national champion Keiichi Tsujiura, and podium-goer Masanori Kosaka. In addition, attention was focused on well-experienced rider, Masahiko Mifune, who announced his intention to retire at the end of this season. Banners displaying Mifune's name were visible all round the course.
From the beginning, the race was fully controlled by Tsujiura who wore the Japanese shining white champion jersey. After the first lap, a group of five riders, Tsujiura, Kosaka, Maruyama, Takenouchi and Mifune, formed together and no other riders could join it.
Gradually Tsujiura paced up and the others couldn't hold on to him. Only Kosaka could keep up with the fierce pace, but finally the power of the champion overwhelmed him. Tsujiura finished first and gained 30 UCI points. Though he was not in good condition, he succeeded to uphold the dignity of the champion.
The next race is National Championships in Hokkaido, the most notherly part of Japan. Can Tsujiura hold on to the title? It will be an exciting race to watch.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Hideaki Takagi
Elite Men 1 Keiichi Tsujiura (Bridgestone-Anchor) 2 Masanori Kosaka (Suwako Racing Team) 3 Atsushi Maruyama (Suwako Racing Team) 4 Masahiko Mifune (Subaru-Miyata) 5 Yu Takenouchi (Rits Uji High school) 6 Shinya Ikemoto (Felt Wakokiki Tamura club) 7 Shingo Shiraishi (Shimano Drinking) 8 Katsunori Irie (Shimano Drinking) 9 Reid Darren (GW Ridley-Japan) 10 Shinobu Noguchi (Trek)