Japan’s Yukiya Arashiro (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), who is the only Asian rider at this year’s Tour de France, has vowed to attack on today’s stage five. Riders aren’t often open about their strategy for stages, but Arashiro told Cyclingnews: “Tomorrow I’ll make the breakaway”.
Arashiro has proven to be a man of his word in the past, saying the same thing prior to the Giro d’Italia’s stage 5 when he finished third in Novi Ligure behind Quick Step’s Jérôme Pineau and Julien Fouchard of Cofidis. So there’s a good chance he’ll be in action from Epernay to Montargis today.
Bbox Bouygues Telecom wants to be visible every day during the Tour. Pierre Rolland was in the breakaway on stage 3 prior to entering the cobblestone sections while former French champion Nicolas Vogondy was one of the five men away on stage 4 from Cambrai to Reims.
Last year Arashiro showed that he was a bit of a sprinter as he finished fifth on stage 2 in Brignoles. At the start of this year’s Tour de France, HTC-Columbia train driver Bernhard Eisel said: “One of our biggest rivals for the bunch sprints is Arashiro”. The Japanese rider ruled out this option in Reims: “No, I’m not fast enough to beat these guys,” he reacted.
Bbox Bouygues Telecom chose Sébastien Turgot as its sprinter once Vogondy was caught yesterday. The winner of stage 2 at the Three Days of De Panne finished sixth on the stage.
“I had to position myself correctly,” Turgot said. “I had to follow the wheels of the pure sprinters to get a good place on the result sheet. I think I’ve got the legs for delivering results. I hope I’ll have more opportunities to do well in the coming sprints.”
Arashiro was pleased to survive the cobblestones on stage 3 without major incident. The rider admitted he’s not made for this type of cycling.
“I really disliked the cobblestones,” Arashiro said. “I tried this kind of cycling with riding the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad at the beginning of this year but it didn’t work out. This is not for me, I’m afraid. But I didn’t crash or anything. I’m happy to enter a different chapter of the Tour de France now.”
The whole Asian continent awaits a first stage win by Arashiro.