|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
17th Japan Cup - 1.HC
Japan, October 25-26, 2008
Race 2 - October 26: Elite men, 151.3km
Cunego wins in Japan
Basso returns to racing action with a third place
By Miwako Sasaki
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.
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/www.bettiniphoto.net
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 Teams 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· Mountains 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