Bill: A Japanese riding the TDF? Is this a first for Japan?
Turumaki: YEEEEEEEEEES! WE (Japanese) have FINALLY got a NATIVE RIDER in the TOUR DE FRANCE!!! The one and only famous fantastic exciting enormous marvelous big event!!!
[Bill interupting: now talk about enthusiasm!]
His name is Daisuke IMANAKA, from the Polti team, Italy.
His career as cycling rider began from his first year at Oita University. After he graduated, he entered the SHIMANO racing team, famous for Dura Ace. He became a professional rider two years ago. And he is the second Japanese rider who rode for the GDI. (the first is Masatoshi ICHIKAWA, the first professional rider in Japan)
Given the typical physical shape of the Japanese, he also is good at climbing mountains. So he will be a good assistant in the team in the mountain stages, I hope.
He and his brother-in-law are now presenting their WWW on the TDF. Each pages are written in Japanese, though, some pics are available. There are reports of his daily life prior to the start of the TDF. And he tells us that he will report daily race reports after Champs Elysee. Also he accepts emails from his fans. I already posted an email cheering up him.
The URL is Imanaka Homepage. Lets take a look.
In Japan, topics on him are generally treated lightly. Even an article on 110 meters hurdle of AMERICAN atheletics was larger than that of his joining to the TDF. I really feel regret or sorrow on this.
But real cycling fans are always watching. There are some messages from them on the WWW page.
I will try to get permission to translate them into your tongue or make them upload English pages too.
Another rider, Yoshiyuki ABE, belonged to the Panaria team, Italy was also reported to join the TDF, however, any story on him has not been yet heard to me. So I wonder if he will not ride for the TDF. He was also a ex-SHIMANO rider and turned pro last year.
The two riders are now coming to Japan in order to train themselves. The Japan Cycling Promotion Association and the Japan Cycle Sports Center set their training place and materials.
One of the riders got fifteenth placing in all African championships. They are eager to join the Olympic. So as the last means, they will go into USA and try to ask IOC to let them join the races directly.
What a story...