The 4th edition of the Niseko Classic in Hokkaido (Japan) was for the second time a UCI Gran Fondo qualifier with a big growth in number of participants and foreigners.
The 140km course counted as qualifier for the males age groups until 49. The challenging circuit slowly lowered the number of riders in the front group to finally have two riders battling for victory in the last 5k. It was Tomoyasu Tazaki who took a few meters on the steep last kilometer towards the finish to win before his compatriot Akihiro Takaoka. Makoto Morimoto completed the podium finishing 3'36 behind.
All ladies and men above 50 started halfway for the shorter but also easier second part of the 140km course for a total distance of 70km. Shoko Fujimura was the fastest female in the race winning 7 minutes ahead of Miho Enomoto and Kazumi Yoneda while Masafumi Nishitani was the fastest male in the age groups above 50. The organizers plan to add an individual time trial to the program in 2018.