31st March, 2017
Salvador GUARDIOLA TORA (ESP) – TEAM UKYO won the 1st stage of the 1st Tour de Tochigi.
The 1st Stage of the very 1st edition of Tour de Tochigi (UCI Asia Tour 2.2) started at Nikko Daiyagawa Park and finished at Ashikaga Athletic Park on 31st March, 2017.
At the starting ceremony, a moment of silence was observed in remembrance of 8 high school students who had been killed by the avalanche happened near the ski area in Nasu Town, Tochigi prefecture.
A lot of cycle fans and local people including many children lined up along the course and enjoyed the first point-to point race in Tochigi, thanks to their spring vacation.
Right after the real start, the speed of peloton went up through Nikko Reiheishi Highway with beautiful Japanese cedar trees.
Salvador GUARDIOLA TORA (ESP) – TEAM UKYO won the first King of Mountain which is 41km from the start and 3rd category climb.
14 riders formed the breakaway after the first KOM and Tomoyuki IINO (JPN) – UTSUNOMIYA BLITZEN who past in 4th place at the first KOM point had to leave the top group, due to mechanical trouble.
The breakaway kept the pace with 2:54 time gap from the peloton and no teams could control the main group to catch the breakaway.
The 2nd KOM was at 83.6km with 12% gradient and Sean WHITEFIELD (AUS) – Oliver’s Real Food Racing was absorbed by peloton before the 2nd KOM point.
A group of 13 riders formed the breakaway with 2 minutes gap at 30km to go.
Thomas LEBAS (FRA) – KINAN CYCLING TEAM made speed up to escape at the point of 8km to go with 50m-elevation difference, but was soon caught by the break.
At last 7km, Ryota NISHIZONO (JPN) – BRIDGESTONE ANCHOR CYCLING TEAM attacked off the front for about 2km, but the top group soon caught him.
Just before the finish, the breakaway put a break on, but when Salvador GUARDIOLA TORA (ESP) – TEAM UKYO came out of the breakaway from the right side, and other 12 riders in the top group looked each other and didn’t make any reaction.
In the end, Salvador won the 1st stage of the 1st Tour de Tochigi with 4 sec gap.
Atsushi OKA (JPN) – UTSUNOMIYA BLITZEN who has joined the team this year will wear U23 Leader Jersey tomorrow.