Race: Japan Cup/ Japan Cup Criterium Race
Start/Finish: Utsunomiya, Japan
Utsunomiya, JPN — Team Novo Nordisk’s Andrea Peron earned his seventh top 10 finish of the year when he sprinted to 10th place at the Japan Cup Criterium while teammate Nicolas Lefrançois starred in the day’s main breakaway.
“I could feel every single kilometer I’ve raced this year in my legs during today’s race,” Peron said. “The race was surprisingly calm in the middle because of the breakaway. Coming into the final corner, I was together with Martijn (Verschoor) but then the chaos started. When I saw that there was no way that he could bring me up, I went on my own.”
Saturday’s 20-lap criterium around downtown Utsunomiya took place on a 1.55-kilometer circuit with two u-turns. Several riders attempted to escape on the initial laps, but the peloton wasn’t willing to let them go. The peloton finally let Lefrançois and several other riders escape and they quickly gained a slight advantage. With only five laps remaining, they had extended their gap to 27 seconds and looked to possibly stay until the end. Yet the WorldTour Teams organized at the front and reeled them in with two laps remaining. The race ended in a bunch sprint with Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek Factory Racing) taking the win. Three Team Novo Nordisk riders finished in the top 20, with Martijn Verschoor in 15th and Charles Planet in 20th position.
“I thought the break may stay away because we were gaining time on the final laps,” Lefrançois said. “But the other breakaway riders started attacking one another. I raced as aggressively as possible and was happy to show our jersey on the front here in Japan.”
Results: Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek Factory Racing) sprinted to victory ahead of Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Steele Von Hoff (Kurite Helium Special Teams).
The world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team continues racing at the Japan Cup on Sunday with the 144.2-km road race. The riders will complete 14 laps around a 10.3-km course. In China, a different squad will take on the final stage at the Tour of China II.