Vingegaard out to conquer Japan
October 5 th 2022 - 17:43 [GMT + 9]
The Tour de France riders will be travelling to Japan for the eighth time for the Tour de France Saitama Criterium, led by the Yellow Jersey of the 2022 edition, Jonas Vingegaard, who also won the Polka Dot Jersey last summer. The Danish rider will be in attendance for a day of sport and entertainment that will take place on 6th November.
In addition to a considerable amount of the movers and shakers on last July’s race, the Japanese crowds will also be able to see the elite riders who are regulars on this race: Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Geraint Thomas, Alejandro Valverde, Mark Cavendish… and of course Yukiya Arashiro, winner of the last edition in 2019.
This race had not been held since 2019 due to the covid health crisis, but this year Japan has regained its place in the late season cycling calendar. A selection of riders from the Tour de France have come forward to extend the season’s competition for an escapade that several of them will be experiencing for the first time, starting with the winner of the Tour de France in 2022. After shedding tears of emotion in Copenhagen at the team presentation and then experiencing the enthusiasm of the crowds on the Col du Granon, Alpe d’Huez and Hautacam, Jonas Vingegaard will be readying himself to meet the tens of thousands of spectators who traditionally gather along the 3.5-km urban circuit (which the riders will race around 17 times in the main event) that winds through the heart of Saitama, very near to Tokyo. As regards other newcomers to city, the Japanese television viewers who were able to marvel at Simon Clarke’s show on the cobbles on the way to Arenberg, Hugo Houle’s solo finish in Foix or the cannon-ball finishes of Jasper Philipsen, will be able to cheer them on in the flesh.
The reunion with this miniature pack from the Tour de France will also allow them to reacquaint themselves with some of the most faithful riders to the Japanese Criterium: four times winner Chris Froome and his former team-mate Geraint Thomas, who has also written his name onto the Tour de France roll of honour, will be present as will future retirees Alejandro Valverde and Vincenzo Nibali, who will be making their last competitive appearances. Although he will not be climbing back onto his bike for the occasion, Marcel Kittel will again be serving as an ambassador for the Criterium in which he took part in previous editions. The former German sprinter will no doubt have plenty of memories to share with the joint record holder for stage wins on the Tour de France (34), Mark Cavendish, who also triumphed on its “22nd stage” in 2018 and who may want to have the last word of the season!
Riders participating (as of 05/10):
Jumbo-Visma: Jonas Vingegaard (Dnk), Steven Kruijswijk (Nld), Sepp Kuss (Usa)
Cofidis: Guillaume Martin (Fra), Simon Geschke, Max Walscheid (Deu), Tom Bohli (Che)
Israel-Premier Tech: Chris Froome (Gbr), Simon Clarke (Aus), Hugo Houle, Guillaume Boivin (Can)
Movistar Team : Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas, Jose Joaquin Rojas, Imanol Erviti (Esp)
Astana- Qazaqstan Team : Vincenzo Nibali, Antonio Nibali, Samuele Battistella, Gianmarco Garofoli (Ita)
Ineos Grenadiers: Geraint Thomas (Gbr), Magnus Sheffield (Usa), Jonathan Castroviejo (Esp)
Legend Team: Mark Cavendish (Gbr), Jasper Philipsen (Bel), Yukiya Arashiro (Jap).