Race Name: Tour de Tochigi 2018
Class: UCI Asia Tour 2.2
Stage: Stage 3
Venue: Nasu Town~Moka City
Weather: 18 degrees, Sunny
Number of starters: 86
Number of spectators: 41,000
<Raymond Kreder wins the stage in a sprint finish, and Michael Potter takes overall>
The 3 rd stage of Tour de Tochigi was held in 147km course starting from Nasu Sports Center heading south along the Naka River, and finish at Igashira Central Park in Moka City. Intermediate sprint was set at 49km point and KOM at two locations, one in 61km point and another in 89km point.
Number of attacks have been made in the first thirty minutes after the kilometer zero. Three riders including Kim Kunsoo (LX Cycling Team), Arashiro Yudai (Kinan Cycling Team) and Jose Vicente Alcolea Toribio (Matrix Powertag) escapes from the peloton however the trio was caught after passing 40km point.
Toby Orchard (Australian Cycling Academy – Ride Sunshine Coast) was the one who passed the only intermediate sprint for this stage, followed by Masuda Nariyuki (Utsunomiya Blitzen) earning 2 seconds bonus time.
The first KOM point was taken by the previous overall champion Benjamin Hill (Ljubljana Gusto Xaurum). Robbie Hucker (Team Ukyo) crossed second and tied Minato Ryo (Shimano Racing Team) in total points.
Oka Atsushi (Utsunomiya Blitzen), So Insu (LX Cycling Team), Ishihara Yuki (Tochigi Select Team), and Hucker breaks away after 70km and expands the time gap with the peloton to maximum 2 minutes.
The fastest rider to cross the second KOM point was Hucker, confirming his KOM jersey for the final result.
Meanwhile the peloton was controlled byc cooperation between Aisan Racing Team seeking for a sprint finish and the leader team Australian Cycling Academy – Ride Sunshine Coast. Taking advantage of the flat straight road the peloton closes the gap with the four leading riders.
In the final 20km, Oka makes attack from the breakaway group. He could’ve taken over the GC if he had kept this lead, however he was caught by the peloton in the final 5 km. Finally the decision was made in the bunch sprint.
As the peloton entered the road in front of Igashira Central Park, Raymond Kreder,
Okamoto Hayato (Aisan Racing Team), and Kuroeda Saya (Shimano Racing Team) launched from the rest of the riders. Kreder finished first, claiming the stage victory as well as the blue jersey.
Michael Potter (Australian Cycling Academy – Ride Sunshine Coast) wearing the GC leader jersey finished in a bunch sealing his overall win and became the second champion of Tour de Tochigi.
Comment after the race: Stage 3 Winner, 2 nd , GC 1st, GC 3rd
Comment Raymond Kreder (Team Ukyo)
“It was my first race in Japan, and I’m very happy to win both the stage and the point
classification. My team mates has supported me a lot being a windbreak so I thought I’d have to win today. When I woke up this morning my condition was not good due to the crash from yesterday but I didn’t feel any pain during the race. It’s hurting now after the finish, which is not good though Tour de Tochigi was a good race with a lot of spectators.”
Okamoto Hayato (Aisan Racing Team)
“I tried for a sprint since my team supported me to gain the chance. But the curve right before the finish was sharper than I thought and since I stayed on the out side which made disadvantage for myself. I am not satisfied with the result, but I’m glad to have earned some UCI points.”
Michael Potter (Australian Cycling Academy – Ride Sunshine Coast)
“Today was the most stressful day. I thought I’d lose the leader jersey when my team mates had been left behind at the first KOM point. However we were able to fix the situation and reach the finish. The race was harder than I’d thought. My next target is the domestic championship race, and I wish to become a rider like Cadel Evans.”
Masuda Nariyuki (Utsunomiya Blitzen)
“We’ve made some chances cooperating with other teams to push back Michael (Potter), However Oka’s breakaway was unsuccessful Aisan Racing Team capturing him and I ended up going one down from 2 nd place to 3 rd in GC. Although we could not get what we wanted, but we don’t have any regret since the team was aggressive the whole race. If there’s only thing I can say about this race is Michael who kept his leader jersey was better than anyone else.”