Fast riding and close finishes in Japan’s Niseko Classic


The mountain resort of Niseko in Japan provided a scenic backdrop for some high-paced racing action last weekend. In Saturday’s time trial and Sunday’s races, participants tried to secure their qualification for the 2023 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Glasgow.

The 15 km ITT was won by Akira Kurosawa (JAP) in 18:07.37, at an average speed of 45.7 km/h. Yuko Matsushima (JAP) was the fastest woman, finishing in 22:06.76 with an average of 37.46 km/h.

Sunday’s gran fondo, the qualifier for men 19-49, ended in a sprint for victory. U19 rider Koryo Sato (JAP) was the first to cross the finish line, right before Fumito Makino, Kosuke Kidokoro and Ryo Sasaki – the latter three making up the all-Japanese M19-34 podium.

Women had the medio fondo as their qualifier. Although this event didn’t end in a sprint, the race was still close. Yukako Suzuki came first in 2:34:13. Just under a minute later, Shiori Bamba took silver. After another 3 minutes, Kana Hachino completed another all-Japanese podium.

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