The 6th edition of Niseko Classic, the 4th as official qualifier event in the UCI Gran Fondo World Series was again a big success with road races sold out months before the event and a time trial added as qualifier event this year. A total of more than 1500 riders attended the events.
The time trial in Kutchan had 168 participants with Japanese Makoto Sagara scoring the fastest overall time before Belgian Kris Guns and Korean Jongil Park. The average speed of the winner was 44.5 km/h.
Fastest female in the time trial was Japanese Chiho Miura in an average speed of 37.2 km/h, beating her compatriot Noriko Toyoshima by only 45 hundreds of a second while Swiss Sandra Boesiger took third spot overall.
The Gran Fondo on Sunday with a 140km course for the men 19-49 and a 70km course for all women and men over 50 was fully booked.
Kenji Matsuki (M40-44) won the 140km in an average speed of 37.3 km/h before Tomoyasu Tazaki and Ryo Inoue who won his M35-39 age group. The women's race on the shorter distance was for Shoko Fujimura (F19-34) with an average speed of 31.5 km/h on the tough course, 1m45 ahead of Haruko Kurihara (F50-54) who beated a lot of her young opponents. Chiho Miura finally finished third overall to win her F45-49 age group.
The men over 50 also battled on the 70km course for their qualification. Three riders of the M50-54 took the fastest three times on that distance with Masafumi Nishitani winning 4 minutes ahead of Ryuji Fujiwara and Koichi Sakai.