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16th Japan Cup - 1.1

Japan, October 27-28, 2007

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Stage 2 - October 28: Elite men, 151.3 km

Mori takes first win in last race of season

By Miwako Sasaki in Utsunomiya

Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval-Prodir) take his first-ever professional win
Photo ę: Makoto Ayano
(Click for larger image)

Manuele Mori of Saunier Duval-Prodir closed his 2007 season with his first win since turning professional in 2002. The 27 year-old Tuscan rider, guided by Directeur Sportif Matteo Algeri, won the 16th Japan Cup after 151.3 kilometres of racing ahead of German Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) and compatriot Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-Fondital).

Mori concluded the race with an advantage of six seconds over a group of six riders that included team-mates Jes˙s Del Nero and Rubens Bertogliati, who finished fourth and sixth. It is the team's second win in the one-day Japanese race, following on last year's win by Riccardo Ricc˛. The Italian from Modena lost time when he crashed in the finale.

Top home rider was Yukiya Arashiro of Team Nippo Corporation.

When the three ProTour teams Saunier Duval-Prodir, Lampre-Fondital and Gerolsteiner arrived in Utsunomiya, the typhoon just hit Japan. "So I couldn't do any training for four days," Mori, who comes from San Miniato, Tuscany in Italy and is a son of 1977 Tour de France stage winner Primo Mori, said before the start. On Saturday, despite the heavy rain, ProTour team riders participated in a pre-race event "Enjoy Free Ride," where Japanese fans could ride with the professional riders on the forest park circuit in Utsunomiya, a memorial circuit of the Worlds in 1990. But Saunier Duval riders Mori, along with last year's winner Riccardo Ricc˛ and Jes˙s Del Nero, and they had an indoor training session instead.

Fortunately the typhoon left Japan on Sunday, and the weather was very nice. Japanese rider Hirose Yoshimasa (Skil-Shimano), Koji Fukushima (Nippo-Meitan-Equipe Asada), Miyataka Shimizu (Nippo-Meitan-Equipe Asada/Japan), Yusuke Hatanaka (Japan National Team) and Australian Stuart Shaw jumped from the group at the first lap out of 11 laps. Five riders continued to keep their advantage to the group which was controlled by ProTour Teams. The maximum advantage was two minutes 35 second at seven laps to go. Spanish rider Del Nero had to work hard at the head of the peloton, up the Kogashi mountain. Finally the breakaway was reeled in with two laps to go. The merge between the groups immediately sparked counter attacks and around ten riders, including Ricc˛, Wegmann, Del Nero and Mori, went clear for the final battle.

At Kogashi mountain, defending champion Ricc˛ was strongest, and he passed first over the top, with eight kilometres to go. But unfortunately Ricc˛ fell on the descent, and the script changed suddenly.

"After the downhill, I turned at the corner and entered a flat street where I attacked. It was three kilometres to go," Mori described his first win. "I never thought I could do [something] like this, with great champions [in the race]. When I looked back at 200 metres to go, I was sure of my victory at last." German champion Wegmann tried hard to catch Mori but it was too late. Mori had already reached the finish alone, and he bowed twice, like Eros Poli did in his Tour de France stage win at the Mont Ventoux in 1994, and crossed the finish line.

"I'm very happy I got my first win, especially in Japan. Because many people cheered me on at the side of the road. I want to say thanks to all and this win belongs to them." The 27 year-old rider had to wait so long, he really deserved to stand on the top of the podium as a pro. "Anyway, I have to win once," he said after he was sixth in the Japan Cup last year. And after the longest season, he finally found his best placing in Japan, which he loves. "OK, if I can win tomorrow, I do something special before the finish, the same style like Eros Poli at the Tour in 1994," Mori promised the day before his victory. And he achieved it.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Makoto Ayano/www.cyclingtime.com

Images by Miwako Sasaki

Results

1 Manuele Mori (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir                                       4.09.58 (36.3km/h)
2 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                                  0.06
3 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - Fondital
4 Jesus Del Nero Montes (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir
5 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Nippo Corporation - Meitan Honpo Co LTD - Asada              0.07
6 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval - Prodir
7 Taiji Nishitani (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team
8 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre - Fondital                                              0.15
9 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil - Shimano                                                  0.25
10 Takashi Miyazawa (Jpn) Nippo Corporation - Meitan Honpo Co LTD - Asada            1.00
11 Hidenori Nodera (Jpn) Skil - Shimano
12 Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac Porsche Development Program
13 Takumi Beppu (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team
14 Makoto Iijima (Jpn) Japan National Team
15 Wang Yip Tang (HKg) Hong Kong Pro Cycling
16 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner
17 Ronny Scholz (Ger) Gerolsteiner
18 Tomoya Kano (Jpn) Skil - Shimano                                                  1.02
19 Nariyuki Masuda (Jpn) Myata - Subaru Racing Team
20 Takahiro Yamashita (Jpn) Myata - Subaru Racing Team                               1.05
21 Kazuya Okazaki (Jpn) Nippo Corporation - Meitan Honpo Co LTD - Asada              1.06
22 Yoshiyuki Abe (Jpn) Skil - Shimano
23 Satoshi Hirose (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team                                            2.46
24 Stuart Shaw (Aus) Drapac Porsche Development Program                              3.35
25 Mark O'Brien (Aus) Drapac Porsche Development Program                             4.25
26 Abbass Saeid Tanha (IRI) Islamic Azad Univercity Cycling Team
27 Daniel Braunsteins (Aus) Drapac Porsche Development Program
28 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Saunier Duval - Prodir                                  4.28
29 Makoto Nakamura (Jpn) Myata - Subaru Racing Team                                  4.31
30 Takeaki Ayabe (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team
31 Akira Kakinuma (Jpn) Myata - Subaru Racing Team                                   4.35
32 Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir                                       4.37
33 Kin San Wu (HKg) Hong Kong Pro Cycling                                            6.17
34 Robbie Williams (Aus) Drapac Porsche Development Program
35 Fan Hsin Chu (Tpe) Chinese Taipei Team
36 Kai Tsun Lam (HKg) Hong Kong Pro Cycling
37 Prajak Mahawong (Tha) Thai National Team
38 Jianhua Ji (Chn) Chinese National Team
39 Haijun Ma (Chn) Chinese National Team
40 Okart Bualoi (Tha) Thai National Team
41 Chun Hing Chan (HKg) Hong Kong Pro Cycling
42 Rongxi Zou (Chn) Chinese National Team
43 Kuei Shiang Peng (Tpe) Giant Asia Racing Team (Tpe) Chinese Taipei Team
44 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Lampre - Fondital
45 Phuchong Sai-Udomsin (Tha) Thai National Team
46 Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Lampre - Fondital
47 Maurizio Girardini (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
48 Ken Hashikawa (Jpn) Matrix Powertag
49 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner
50 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner
51 Yoshimasa Hirose (Jpn) Skil - Shimano
52 Kazuhiro Mori (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team
53 Masahiko Mifune (Jpn) Matrix Powertag
54 Shinri Suzuki (Jpn) Myata - Subaru Racing Team
55 Yusuke Hatanaka (Jpn) Japan National Team                                         7.17
56 Koji Fukushima (Jpn) Nippo Corporation - Meitan Honpo Co LTD - Asada             11.02
57 Miyataka Shimizu (Jpn) Nippo Corporation - Meitan Honpo Co LTD - Asada
58 Kohei Uchima (Jpn) Japan National Team
DNF Naoki Mukaigawa (Jpn) Matrix Powertag
DNF Mohammd Rajablou (IRI) Islamic Azad Univercity Cycling Team
DNF Tomoya Sano (Jpn) Matrix Powertag
DNF Farshad Salehian (IRI) Islamic Azad Univercity Cycling Team
DNF Chun Kai Feng (Tpe) Chinese Taipei Team
DNF Yoshimitsu Tsuji (Jpn) Matrix Powertag
DNF Shinichiro Murade (Jpn) Japan National Team
DNF Masatsugu Totoki (Jpn) Japan National Team
DNF Nutthapon Jeebthaworn (Tha) Thai National Team
DNF Seyed Moezeddin Seyed Rezaei Khormizi (IRI) Islamic Azad Univercity Cycling Team
DNF Faridi Koviy Mahdi (IRI) Islamic Azad Univercity Cycling Team
DNF Po Hung Wu (Tpe) Chinese Taipei Team
DNF Ho Ting Kwok (HKg) Hong Kong Pro Cycling
DNF Long Jin (Chn) Chinese National Team
DNF Kuan Hu Lai (Tpe) Chinese Taipei Team
DNF Youthaporn Hintao (Tha) Thai National Team
DNF Baoqing Song (Chn) Chinese National Team