Fumiyuki Beppu completed the Giro d'Italia without having a go at stage 18 as he had planned but he was still a happy man on the finishing line in Milan, as he became the fourth Japanese rider to complete the Italian Grand Tour.
Listening to the 28-year-old from Chigasaki, the Giro d'Italia wasn't as hard as some people expected. Probably the tail wind the riders enjoyed a lot during those three weeks of racing has helped them to endure the difficulty of the climbs. "I don't feel too tired," Beppu told Cyclingnews in piazza Duomo. "I've got some experience by now, so it makes three weeks of racing a little easier."
Beppu was the second Japanese to finish the Tour de France, as he crossed the line of the Champs-Elysées behind his compatriot Yukiya Arashiro even though he was ahead of him in the overall ranking (111th). He's now the fourth man from the Country of Rising Sun to have completed the Giro d'Italia, after Masatoshi Ishikawa (50th in 1990 with Hitachi), Hidenori Nodera (139th in 2002 with Colpack) and Arashiro (93rd) last year (with Bbox Bouygues Telecom).
Beppu wanted to have a go at a stage win like Arashiro who came third in Novi Ligure behind Frenchmen Jérôme Pineau and Julien Fouchard. The RadioShack rider also broke away with two Frenchmen, Euskaltel's Pierre Cazaux and Ag2r-La Mondiale formerly Ukrainian Yuriy Krivtsov, during stage 10 but Mark Cavendish was too ambitious for a first stage win for HTC-Highroad to let them arrive in Teramo before the peloton.
"There weren't many stages to suit my characteristics," Beppu regretted at the end of the Giro. "I identified stage 18 (won by Eros Capecchi in San Pellegrino Terme) as a good one for me but we rode at 54km/h during the first part of that race! I've tried many times but it didn't work out. 1300 watts were needed to go on the attack."
"I've done my best during the Giro," Beppu insisted. He's appreciated at RadioShack for his job at the service of his team-mates, including the sprinters, Robbie McEwen and Robert Hunter at the beginning of the race. "I wouldn't mind to ride the Tour de France again but I don't think I will this year. It'll probably be the guys who were doing the Tour of California. So I'll go to Japan for the national championships this time. I might do the Vuelta though."
Beppu learned at the end of the last stage that Alberto Contador had signed a pink saddle of Prologo going for auction for the victims of the earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan. "I'm touched that he did it for my country," Beppu told Cyclingnews. The auction will be organised by Prologo's distributor in Japan Daisuke Imanaka who was another Japanese rider at the Giro but he didn't finish and pulled out in stage 14 while riding for Polti in 1995.