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17th Japan Cup - 1.HC

Japan, October 25-26, 2008

Main Page    Results   Overall standings    Previous Stage  

Race 2 - October 26: Elite men, 151.3km

Cunego wins in Japan

Basso returns to racing action with a third place

By Miwako Sasaki

Damiano Cunego sprinting
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Italian Damiano Cunego (Lampre) won the 17th Japan Cup Cycle Road Race, beating his two compatriots Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) in the final sprint. It was Cunego's second victory at the race; he previously won in 2005. Cunego's triumph marked the 12th time an Italian has won the Japan Cup.

It was a cloudy, but not cold day, and at times, rain fell on the peloton. Of the 64 men from 15 countries on the start line, Italian Ivan Basso may have been the most emotional. Just two days earlier, he finished serving his suspension for involvement in Operacion Puerto. The Japan Cup was his first race back since the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon on March 30, 2007.

During the first of 11 laps, three Japanese riders, Akira Kakinuma (Team Bridgestone Anchor), Shinichi Fukushima (Meitan Hompo - GDR) and Japanese Champion Hidenori Nodera (Skil-Shimano), jumped off the front, which was otherwise controlled by the ProTour teams. The trio established a break with a gap of about two minutes. The break lasted until three laps to go, when they were caught with 30km remaining.

Liquigas and Lampre then accelerated, creating a first group of about 10 racers.

With two laps to go, the three favorites Cunego, Visconti, and Basso along with Valerio Agnori attacked the rest of the first group on the hill. They escaped with a margin of a few seconds.

At the beginning of the final lap with 10km to go, the four had 41 seconds to the chase group. On the final hill, Agnoli and Visconti were dropped briefly from Cunego and Basso as they crested the final hill with seven kilometers to go. Visconti and Agnoli caught back to the two leaders on the flat road.

The favourites keep an eye on each other
Photo ©: Hitoshi Omae (Jpn) / PhotoSport International
(Click for larger image)

In the final, undulating kilometers, Cunego kept near the front as Agnoli dropped for good. Cunego then proved invincible in the final sprint with Basso and Visconti

''Today I'm very satisfied about this result, and also I can finally go on vacation," Cunego said after his win.

It was Visconti's eighth second place of 2008. ''This time my second place was behind a real champion like Damiano,'' Visconti observed while next to Cunego at the press conference.

The happiest man of the race was Basso. "In general, the third place doesn't give me satisfaction, but for me, today was one of those days. It was the first race for me after a long suspension, so I'm satisfied with third.''

The day prior to the race, Basso joined a free event for cycling fans who wished to ride a circuit of Japan Cup with the professionals. He showed up in his Liquigas jersey wearing his number.

''I had some emotions associated with participating in a race again- especially when putting a number on my back again, riding with my teammates, and hearing cheers from the fans on the road," said Basso after the event.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Hitoshi Omae (Jpn) / PhotoSport International

Images by Roberto Bettini/

Images by Francis Cerny


1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre                        4.04.57 (37.1 km/h)
2 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quick Step                        
3 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas                                 
4 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas                         0.12
5 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre                        1.23
6 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                    
7 Kjell Carlström (Fin) Liquigas                            
8 Alessandro Proni (Ita) Quick Step                         
9 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil-Shimano                           
10 Taiji Nishitani (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team                  
11 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre                         1.29
12 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Lampre                         1.30
13 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Meitan Hompo - GDR             1.35
14 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre                           1.51
15 Shinri Suzuki (Jpn) Skil-Shimano                     3.33
16 Alex Coutts (GBr) Giant Asia Racing Team             3.35
17 Kazuki Inoue (Jpn) Nippo - Endeka                    3.40
18 Junya Sano (Jpn) Nippo - Endeka                      3.46
19 Erik Hoffmann (Nam) Giant Asia Racing Team               
20 Kazuhiro Mori (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team                3.50
21 Mashahiro Shinagawa (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team              
22 Miyataka Shimizu (Jpn) Meitan Hompo - GDR                
23 Shinpei Fukuda (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor         4.44
24 Takahiro Yamashita (Jpn) Nippo - Endeka                  
25 Hidenori Nodera (Jpn) Skil-Shimano                       
26 Rhys Pollock (Aus) Trek-Marco Polo                       
27 Masakazu Ito (Jpn) Japan National Team                   
28 Yoshiyuki Shimizu (Jpn) Nippo - Endeka                   
29 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                  
30 Kazuya Okazaki (Jpn) Meitan Hompo - GDR                  
31 Hayato Yoshida (Jpn) Japan National Team                 
32 Jai Crawford (Aus) Trek-Marco Polo                       
33 Kazuyuki Manabe (Jpn) Nippo - Endeka                     
34 Kazuki Aoyanagi (Jpn) Nippo - Endeka                     
35 Tomoya Kano (Jpn) Skil-Shimano                           
36 Naoki Mukaigawa (Jpn) Matrix Powertag                    
37 Yoshimitsu Hiratsuka Japan National Team             4.48
38 Fuyu Li (Chn) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team             
39 Mauro Facci (Ita) Quick Step                             
40 Yasuharu Nakajima (Jpn) Meitan Hompo - GDR           4.49
41 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Liquigas                       
42 Takeaki Ayabe (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team                    
43 Masaru Fukuhara (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor        4.55
44 Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Bouygues Telecom              9.33
45 Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) Quick Step                      
46 David McCann (Irl) Giant Asia                            
47 Yohann Gène (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                       
48 Marco Bandiera (Ita) Lampre                              
49 Stijn Joseph (Bel) Quick Step                            
50 Masahiko Mifune (Jpn) Matrix Powertag                9.39
51 Masamichi Yamamoto (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor    11.24
HD Yoshimitsu Tsuji (Jpn) Matrix Powertag                   
HD Kohei Uchima (Jpn) Japan National Team                   
HD Masaki Wakumoto (Jpn) Matrix Powertag                    
HD Stefan Löffler (Ger) Team Sparkasse                      
DNF Yoshiyuki Abe (Jpn) Skil-Shimano                        
DNF Sea Loh (Mas) Trek-Marco Polo                           
DNF Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Meitan Hompo - GDR             
DNF Takumi Beppu (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team                    
DNF Akira Kakinuma (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor            
DNF Ken Hasikawa (Jpn) Matrix Powertag                      
DNF Ken Onodera (Jpn) Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team        
DNF Makoto Iijima (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor             
DNF Erki Pütsep (Est) Bouygues Telecom                      
1 Liquigas                                          12.16.26
2 Lampre                                                1.17
3 Quick Step                                            4.36
4 Aisan Racing Team                                     7.28
5 Skil-Shimano·                                         8.05
6 Meitan Honpo-GDR                                      8.34
7 Nippo-Endekanippo·                                   10.35
8 Japan National Team                                  12.37
9 Trek-Marco Polo Cycling Team·                        12.41
10 Bouygues Telecom                                    14.05
11 Giant Asia Racing Team                              15.19
 Matrix Powertag                                            
 Team Bridgestone Anchor·                                   
1 Akira Kakinuma (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor              
2 Hidenori Nodera (Jpn) Skil-Shimano                        
3 Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Meitan Honpo-Gdr                 
Best Asian rider
1 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil-Shimano                    4.06.20
Young rider
1 Shinpei Fukuda (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor            4.09.41