A strong line-up for the 21st Tour of Japan
After celebrating its 20th anniversary, the 21st edition Tour of Japan will start from Sakai City on May 20th! 16 teams in total are joining the biggest annual event in Japan, including 8 Japanese team and the other 8 teams overseas. Team Bahrain-Merida is the only WorldTeam in 2018 edition.
Tour of Japan is an 8 days stage race, heading from Sakai stage all the way east to Tokyo stage. Started with 2.6 individual time trial, we will have 4 rolling stages in Kyoto, Inabe, Mino and Minami Shinshu. Before the sprinter’s stage in Tokyo city, Fujisan and Izu stage will be crucial days for GC. Total distance and elevation are 764km and 12,982m.
“I think our goals will be winning at least one stage,” says our Sports Director Harald Morscher. “For that, we have riders like Bole and our local hero Arashiro who shows up a good performance in the last races. For the top mountain finishes and GC, we have Pernsteiner. He can do a Top 3 result in GC there. Wang for sure will be motivated for this. Per is coming back from a long race break and has to find his race rhythms and will be a necessary help for the team as well also Agnoli. So I think we are there this year for both GC and Stage wins.”
This year, Yukiya Arashiro is coming back Tour of Japan. He knows this race better than anyone else: “I have a big motivation this Tour. I won two stages so far, 2007 in Tokyo and 2016 in Izu. There are some stages that I have a chance, and I think Team Bahrain Merida will be able to win a stage. I want to enjoy riding in Japan. I am also happy to see lots of fans and friends!”
In this promising squad, Grega Bole is another rider who had impressed the Japanese fans by winning the point classification: “I did good in TOJ 2014, a very nice race and beautiful country. I am happy to go back to Japan. I am feeling good and I think we will be a strong team. Also we have Yukiya Arashiro, who will be motivated to ride on home roads!”
TBM’s line-up for Tour of Japan: Valerio Agnoli, Grega Bole, Meiyin Wang, Yukiya Arashiro, David Per, Hermann Pernsteiner
(All pictures attached can be used for editorial and non-commercial use) – © Team Bahrain-Merida / @BettiniPhoto)