Race: Japan Cup Criterium (Oct 22) & Japan Cup Road Race (Oct 23)
Total Distance: Japan Cup Criterium: 38.25 kilometers. Japan Cup Road Race: 144.2 kilometers
Race Class: Japan Cup Road Race: 1.HC
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, returns to Utsunomiya, Japan for its third consecutive appearance at the Japan Cup when the first of two one-day races kicks off on Oct 22nd.
“We are very excited to be back in Japan and are looking to achieve our best results to date,” Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko said. “We are very familiar with the courses, which will help us implement a successful race strategy.”
Team Novo Nordisk is taking an experienced five-man roster including Martijn Verschoor, who starred in the main breakaway at last year’s road race and Javier Megias, who finished 15th overall. Team Novo Nordisk’s full roster includes Stephen Clancy (IRL), Kevin De Mesmaeker (BEL), Javier Megias (ESP), Charles Planet (FRA) and Martijn Verschoor (NED). Clancy will be making his Japan Cup debut.
The race begins on Saturday with the 17-lap Japan Cup Cycle Criterium around downtown Utsunomiya. The 1.55-kilometer course features several u-turns and is known for a sustained high-pace and sprint finish. Verschoor finished 15th in last year’s criterium.
The Japan Cup continues on Sunday with the 144.2-km Japan Cup Cycle Road Race. With the same course as the 2015 edition, the riders will compete on a 10.3-km loop that features a steep climb to Chojo in Utsunomiya Forest Park. The climb typically proves decisive, and the race suits a strong climber such as Megias.
“The Japan Cup has been on Javier’s mind throughout this entire season. He likes this race and has all the qualities to be on the podium,” Davidenko said. “Charles is also coming into the race with good form and a very competitive mindset. The course suits both of them very well.”
The 22-year-old Planet says the Japan Cup races are two of his favorites of the entire year and he is motivated to end his season on a high note.
“It’s a big pleasure to come back to Japan for this beautiful race. I love the road race and also the criterium especially with its big, big crowds,” Planet said. “For the past two weeks, I’ve fully focused my training on preparing for these races. I’m feeling good and we have a strong roster. I know Javier will arrive in top form and I believe we can do something good and inspire the people in Japan.”
Rounding out the team’s experience is Davidenko’s personal knowledge of racing in Utsunomiya, Japan. In 1990, he won a stage at Japan’s International Cycle Road Race and was runner-up on the second day when he rode with Team CCCP.
Team Novo Nordisk Roster Japan Cup (Oct. 22-23):
Stephen Clancy (IRL), Kevin De Mesmaeker (BEL), Javier Megias (ESP), Charles Planet (FRA), Martijn Verschoor (NED)
Sport Director: Vassili Davidenko (USA)