By Kei Tsuji
Keiichi Tsujiura (Team Bridgestone Anchor) achieved an unprecedented seventh straight victory at the 14th Japanese Cyclo-cross Championship event. The Iida, Nagano course held on a river bank was flat, but largely muddy with some puddles of rainwater.
It was Tsujiura who led the race soon after the start and a pack of four riders formed. Tsujiura had trouble with his muddy pedal on the second lap and paced down while two Suwako riders, Masanori Kosaka and Atsushi Maruyama, led the pack. After the defending champion changed his bike no one could keep up his overwhelming pace.
While the battle for the second position was heating up between the veteran Kosaka and Seigo Yamamoto (Kai Racing), Tsujiura crossed the finish line without breaking stride.
"I'm totally happy to achieve the seventh victory," he said. "But at the same time, I regret the fact that no one could stop it. I hope more riders participate to raise the national level."