The sun was out and the riders were ready. The 4th Niseko Classic was held on Sunday July 9th, 2017 and riders from around the world enjoyed closed roads, fine weather and a great race for this year's annual cycling event.
The UCI official certified international bicycle road race saw the start of the 140km race at 6:50 am, with blue skies and a pleasant summer temperature of 17.5 degrees Celsius.
Race participant, Tomoyasu Tazaki, from Niigata Prefecture, took the 140 km race victory. Mr Tazaki finished in a time of 3 hours 38 minutes 56 seconds, which is 18 minutes behind last year's winning time.
Fujimura Shoko, the 70 km women's race winner rode a time of 2 hours 8 minutes 27 seconds, with second place coming in just over 7 minutes later. The winner of the main 70 km race was Masashi Nishitani with a time of 2 hours 4 minutes 35 seconds.
The 140km course includes 2,362m of vertical challenge, leading competitors up the spectacular Panorama Line, then out by the Sea of Japan and back to Hirafu-Niseko. The number of entries increased by 28% compared with last year and 881 people participated. There were 16 participants from abroad that accounted for about 10% (93 people) of previous entries.
The Niseko Classic is growing steadily with more and more competitors each year. Next year's event is scheduled for July 7th - 8th, 2018.
To all the athletes, supporters, volunteer staff, well done and thank you for such a wonderful and successful event. See you in 2018!