Welten Sprints to Third on Opening Day of Racing in Japan21. October 2017, Utsunomiya (JPN) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team kicked off their weekend of racing at the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race with a fast and furious criterium race which saw Danilo Wyss on the attack and Bram Welten sprint to third overall.
With just 15 laps of a 2.25km circuit to cover there was no lack of action as the peloton flew through the streets of Utsunomiya to the delight of huge crowds who lined the streets despite the wet weather.
Various attacks flew off the front of the peloton from the moment the flag dropped, including a strong solo move from Wyss, however, the peloton never gave any rider too much room for maneuver and the race was back together going onto the final lap.
In the end, it was inevitable that the day’s victory would be contested by a bunch sprint and after a battle to get into position, which saw a multiple crashes inside the closing meters of the day, it was Marco Canola (NIPPO Vini Fantini) who proved to be the fastest on the day.
Juanjo Lobato (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) took second place overall while, Welten, one of BMC Racing Team’s stagiaires, was able to demonstrate his strong sprinting skills to secure third on the line and round out the podium positions.
BMC Racing Team now move on to the second part of the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race tomorrow, 22 October.
Quotes From the Finish Line
"It was a totally different kind of racing today. We started full gas, and even though it is a loop with just two corners, you are almost standing still when you go round them. It is definitely a race for the explosive guys, and it has been a while since I felt as explosive as I was today. It was a crazy race and the slippery conditions added to this. The guys did a great job to keep me in front because we knew I had a good sprint. On the last corner, it was so fast, I lost Michael Schär's wheel, so I was going for it on my own. Not long after, there was a couple of crashes and it was a hectic final. The rider who won was already ahead when I launched my sprint, and the podium was definitely the best I could do today."
"It's been a great experience in Japan so far. The fans are so enthusiastic. They love cycling. It's a great group of guys we have here too, and we are having a lot of fun."
"It was a fast criterium, and the weather wasn't the best, but it was nice to get back on the bike and ride with the guys. It is a fun race here, and it is good to come back with no pressure. For me, it was also nice to be part of Alberto Contador's last race. We were teammates for one year, and it was kind of cool to be part of that. For us as a team, Bram Welten was good and finished third, and Danilo Wyss looked strong when he attacked. It was a nice way to start our time in Japan, and it was a bit of an opener for tomorrow. I have to be realistic about tomorrow. It is a hard race, and my main goal will be to cross the finish line."
"The fans here are incredible. They love cycling, and you don't come across fans like it anywhere else. It's been a good way to ease back into it."
Japan Cup Cycle Road Race Criterium
One-day race: Utsunomiya > Utsunomiya, 38.25km
Top 3: 1. Marco Canola (NIPPO Vini Fantini) 2. Juanjo Lobato (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) 3. Bram Welten (BMC Racing Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 3. Bram Welten 30. Danilo Wyss 31. Martin Elmiger