Team Novo Nordisk Gears Up for 5th Japan Cup
12 October 2018
Race: Japan Cup Criterium (Oct 20) & Japan Cup Road Race (Oct 21)
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 fifth consecutive appearance at the Japan Cup when the first of two one-day races kick off on Oct 20th.
“The Japan Cup is a very unique event from start to finish. It begins with an animated team presentation on Friday night followed by a lively criterium on Saturday where tens of thousands of fans line the streets to cheer on their favorite riders and teams,” Team Novo Nordisk Senior Vice President of Athletics Vassili Davidenko said. “Our title sponsor, Novo Nordisk, and all the fans provide us with a very warm welcome, which creates an amazing atmosphere and spirit that carries throughout the entire weekend.”
Team Novo Nordisk is taking a five-man squad that includes David Lozano (ESP) and Charles Planet (FRA), both strong climbers who have raced at the Japan Cup previously. Rounding out Team Novo Nordisk’s roster and making their race debuts are Fabio Calabria (AUS), Joonas Henttala (FIN) and Umberto Poli (ITA).
The race starts on Saturday with the Japan Cup Cycle Criterium around downtown Utsunomiya. The event features two parade laps followed by 15 laps of high-speed racing around a 2.25-kilometer course including several u-turns.
“The Japan Cup is an incredible opportunity to show everyone affected by diabetes in Japan what is possible,” Davidenko said. “We love interacting one-on-one with our fans and invite everyone to come out and meet the team. We aim to keep changing lives of people affected by diabetes one person and one race at a time.”
The Japan Cup continues on Sunday with the 144.2-km Japan Cup Cycle Road Race. The 14-lap race features a steep climb followed by a fast, technical descent through the Utsunomiya Forest Park.
“Charles and David both know the Japan Cup course well, and I believe they each have a chance of being up with the best riders at the end of the race,” Davidenko said. “They will be coming off Taihu Lake and will have a few days of recovery, so I feel they are in great form and should be able to achieve a strong result.”
Racing his third Japan Cup, the 29-year-old Lozano said he is extremely motivated for his final race of the season.
“I’ve always enjoyed racing at the Japan Cup, particularly because of the amazing people and culture, and this year I’m arriving a little fresher, which I hope means a strong performance,” Lozano said. “The strategy for this race is simple—be the strongest you can be on a challenging course with climbs and fast, dangerous descents. You have to be 100 perfect mentally and physically ready.”
Team Novo Nordisk Roster Japan Cup (Oct. 20-21)
Sam Brand (GB), Joonas Henttala (FIN), David Lozano (ESP), Charles Planet (FRA), Umberto Poli (ITA), Chris Williams (AUS).
Sport Director: Vassili Davidenko (USA)