The Tour of Japan heads into Tokyo on Sunday in what should be an thrilling few laps of the streets for any cycling fans waiting for a glimpse of the professionals.
The seventh and final stage of the 2013 race, which has taken in Nara, Fuji, Izu and other locations on its way across the country, will roll out from Hibiya City (to the South side of Hibiya Park) at 11am before speeding 14.7km down and past Rainbow Bridge (but not across it) to Oi Wharf (near Oikeibajomae Station on the Tokyo Monorail) for 14 laps of a 7km course.
The first 1.2km of the race is a ‘Parade’, so expect the teams to ride in formation and wave to the fans a little, but then it’s a dash for position heading into the circuit, complete with hairpins and speedy straights in equal measure. The leading rider is expected to cross the finish line after 112.7 grueling kilometers at approximately 2pm.
Elite cycling fans in the Tokyo area will get another treat when on October 26 the Tour de France comes to Saitama. More precisely, the Saitama Criterium by Le Tour de France, a race organized by the people responsible for the most famous cycling race in the world, will bring together 30 foreign and 30 Japanese riders, including, it is hoped, recent Tour stage winners.
Our fingers are crossed for an appearance by Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 tour winner who also took gold in the London Olympics, but nothing is confirmed yet.
That race will consist of laps of a circuit in Saitama city center, with Fumiyuki Beppu and Yukiya Arashiro – Japanese riders currently on the tour – set to compete.
Image: Tour of Japan 2013 Day 1 by Kari1290/Flickr