Riders came from near and far to participate in the 4th Niseko Classic held on July 9, 2017, and what a great race it was!
A total of 881 people rode in the international cycling event with participation up 28% on last year. Riders from 16 countries made up 93 of the participants in the race. A wide range of ages took to the roads, too, with riders aged from 19 to 70 years.
The temperature at the start of the 140 km race at 6:30 am was a pleasant 17.5 degrees Celsius. It was a great start to the event after a wetter event last year.
Race participant, Tomoyasu Tazaki, from Niigata Prefecture, took the 140 km race victory. Mr Tazaki finished in a time of 3 hours 38 minutes 56 seconds, which is 18 minutes behind last year's winning time.
Fujimura Shoko, the 70 km women's race winner rode a time of 2 hours 8 minutes 27 seconds, with second place coming in just over 7 minutes later. The winner of the 70 km race was Masashi Nishitani with a time of 2 hours 4 minutes 35 seconds.
The 140km course includes 2,362m of vertical challenge, leading competitors up the spectacular Panorama Line, then out by the Sea of Japan and back to Hirafu-Niseko. The number of entries increased by 28% compared with last year and 881 people participated. There were 16 participants from abroad that accounted for about 10% (93 people) of previous entries.
The Niseko Classic is growing steadily with more and more competitors each year. It's the second year the international cycling event has been officially recognised as a part of UCI Grand Fondo World Series. Next year's event is scheduled for July 7th - 8th, 2018.
To all the athletes, supporters, volunteer staff, well done and thank you for such a wonderful and successful event. See you in 2018.