Race Name: Tour de Tochigi 2018 UCI Asia Tour 2.1
Stage: Stage 2
Venue: Oyama City to Nikko City
Weather: 15 degrees, Sunny partly cloudy
Number of starters: 89
Number of spectators: 26,000
<Michael Potter claims second victory in a sprint finish.>
2nd stage of Tour de Tochigi was held at 105km distance course starting from Oyama Omoinomori (Oyama City) to Nikko Daiyagawa Park (Nikko City). The race started with flat and straight road including the two intermediate sprints, followed by ups and downs where the KOM point was set. Michael Potter from Australian Cycling Academy – Ride Sunshine Coast again claimed the stage victory and secured the GC.
The stage started at 10:00am and riders soon made some attacks from kilometer zero. The race proceeded with no definite move with continuous attacks and returns to the peloton.
Toby Orchard (Australian Cycling Academy – Ride Sunshine Coast) was the first rider to cross the both two intermediate points at 33km and 43km. Three riders went clear after, involving Minato Ryo (Shimano Racing Team) Daiki Yasuhara (Matrix Powertag) Kenta Kojima (Nihon University) in this breakaway.
The race continued with peloton being controlled by Australian Cycling Academy – Ride Sunshine Coast including the GC leader Michael Potter, maintaining the 1’30”” time gap.
As the peloton crossed the halfway point the race entered the uphill part and the teams started to make their moves. The breakaway entered the climb for the KOM at the 86km point keeping the one-minute gap however the peloton started to close this gap.
Minato was the first rider to reach the KOM point located at the border of Kanuma City and Nikko City. By the time Yasuhara passed the KOM point few seconds later, the peloton was about to catch him. Minato and Yasuhara was soon back in the peloton, and another leading group was formed by nine riders including Potter and Masuda Nariyuki. Another group was formed in 30 seconds gap however the opportunity was limited to the nine riders as the groups entered Nikko City.
In the last 300 meters of the straight in front of Nikko Daiyagawa Park, Potter launched into sprint from the lead-out by his team mate Freddy Ovett. Robbie Hucker (Team Ukyo) and Suzuki Yuzuru (Utsunomiya Blitzen) followed this however Potter crossed the finish line first. The rider claimed his second victory followed by the 1st stage, succeeding to expand the lead for GC.
Comment after the race: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, KOM
Michael Potter (Australian Cycling Academy – Ride Sunshine Coast)
“The last one hour had been hard but I was able relax thanks to the support of my team mates. It was not supposed to be my day, but it was lucky that I was able to win. I’d like to take home the GC leader jersey keeping the lead in tomorrow’s race.”
Raymond Kreder (Team Ukyo)
“I tried to take the sprint point and earn the bonus time since I was in good condition, but unfortunately there was a crush. I was able to return to the race because of my team mate’s support, and was able to climb in a good pace feeling adrenalin within myself. Although I was able to take part in the final sprint, it was too bad that I couldn’t finish first. I’ll see how my injury effects but I look forward to do a good race tomorrow.”
Suzuki Yuzuru (Utsunomiya Blitzen)
“Supporting Masuda (Nariyuki) placed 2nd in GC and Oka (Atsushi) in 4th was my duty for today’s race. Our team made an attack at the downhill after the KOM point however we had to change our plan Oka being left behind due to overrun. Although I came third in the finish, we were not successful in closing the gap with the leader for Masuda. We still keep our hope left for taking over the lead tomorrow.”
KOM Ryo Minato (Shimano Racing Team)
“Three of us with more than 50 seconds behind in GC made a breakaway today, and I tried to jump up my position in GC. Although I had not been successful, I was able to take the KOM leader and I’d like to keep this jersey tomorrow as well.”