The Japanese qualifier event in Niseko on the Hokkaido Island has grown significantly in recent years and will be sold out for the second year in a row. Last year, only the long distance had to close registrations earlier, but now also the shorter distance had been sold out a few weeks before the event. Only the time trial has some places left.
The 13.8km time trial which had been organized as a test event on a shorter course last year will for the first time be a qualifier time trial for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Poland. The start and finish are in nearby Kutchan for a flat and fast loop.
The traditional 70/140km Granfondo the next day has been proven to be challenging and tough. Men 19-49 have to qualify on the 140km course while women and men over 50 have the shorter 70km as official qualifier distance. Riders head towards an altitude of 825m above sea level during a climb of almost 20km before heading to the coastline where the 70km start is given. There is also a second climb towards an altitude of 430m before riders head to the finish in Niseko for a steep last kilometre.
1000 riders in the Granfondo and 224 riders in the time trial have preregistered.