By Kei Tsuji
The 12th edition of the Japanese Cyclo-cross Championships was held in Tomakomai, where the defending champion, Keiichi Tsujiura (Bridgestone-Anchor), achieved an unprecedented fifth straight victory.
Holding the championships on the Northern island of Hokkaido meant that riders had to face tough, cold conditions on a freezing course, which gradually melted and became increasingly muddy towards the end. This year, 38 riders lined up, including seven in the U23 category.
It was Keiichi Tsujiura (Bridgestone-Anchor) and Masanori Kosaka (Suwako Racing Team) who started off well. The two big favorites gaining a gap over the riders behind.
On the last lap, Tsujiura fell off his bike due to accidental contact with a rider who was being lapped. This was a great opportunity for the 43 year-old Kosaka to go on and win but the defending champion never gave up and succeeded to catch Kosaka. The race came down to a sprint between the two, and it was Tsujiura who crossed the finish line first.
The elite women's race was totally dominated by defending champion, Eiko Toyooka (masahikomifune.com CyclingTeam). She showed overwhelming power and took her second national title comfortably.
See the full results and photos here