Back-to-back wins for Looney Theuns as the race returns after two year absence
The Japan Cup Criterium serves as an action-packed introduction to the Japan Cup, and with no race held since 2019 the Japanese fans turned out in force to cheer the riders on. After two parade laps racing kicked off on the streets of central Utsunomiya. The race was very short but by no means easy – 33.75km consisting of 15 laps of a 2.25 city centre circuit. Attack after attack was launched, but a tireless Trek-Segafredo team managed to reel them all back to set up a sprint for Edward, who pounced out of the slipstream to win the race for a second time, the first coming three years ago at the previous edition of the race.
“I’m super happy first of all to be here after 3 years,” said Edward after the finish. “I really enjoyed the previous edition when I also won the Criterium and Bauke won the race on Sunday. It’s always a great atmosphere here, the people are super excited when the pro riders come to Japan and they are supporting us a lot. We get smiles from all around the circuit – the criterium parcours is around 2km and I don’t think there was an empty spot at the side of the road. It’s quite amazing!
“We had a plan with the Team to control the race and the breakaways. They didn’t make it easy for us but our guys did a great job to keep everything together. On the last lap I had Mosca with me to help me for the sprint; I chose to stay a little bit back after the last corner because I could feel that it would be a hard sprint if you came into the wind. I could launch from the slipstream and take some speed. It was pretty close but in the end I had enough to win, it’s a nice feeling.”