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Gallery: Japan at the Cross Worlds

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Yokoyama Kota

Yokoyama Kota
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Japanese junior riders watched the race action

Japanese junior riders watched the race action
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Sawada Toki (Team Bridgeston Anchor)

Sawada Toki (Team Bridgeston Anchor)
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Nakai Michimasa

Nakai Michimasa
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Sawada Toki (Team Bridgeston Anchor) finished 19th place

Sawada Toki (Team Bridgeston Anchor) finished 19th place
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Yokoyama Kota finished 41st place

Yokoyama Kota finished 41st place
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Nakai Michimasa finished 42nd place

Nakai Michimasa finished 42nd place
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Yokoyama Kota finished 41st place

Yokoyama Kota finished 41st place
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Toyooka Ayako (Panasonic Ladies)

Toyooka Ayako (Panasonic Ladies)
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Takenouchi Yu (Team Eurasia)

Takenouchi Yu (Team Eurasia)
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Nakai Michimasa on the sandy course

Nakai Michimasa on the sandy course
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Sawada Toki (Team Bridgeston Anchor)

Sawada Toki (Team Bridgeston Anchor)
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Sawada Toki (Team Bridgeston Anchor) was waiting for the race start

Sawada Toki (Team Bridgeston Anchor) was waiting for the race start
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Tsujiura Keiichi (Team Bridgestone Anchor)

Tsujiura Keiichi (Team Bridgestone Anchor)
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Japanese champion, Takenouchi Yu's hand made bike "Toyo frame"

Japanese champion, Takenouchi Yu's hand made bike "Toyo frame"
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Tsujiura Keiichi (Team Bridgestone Anchor) with the crowds

Tsujiura Keiichi (Team Bridgestone Anchor) with the crowds
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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The mechanics hard at work

The mechanics hard at work
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Seven Japanese riders and staff attended the cross world championships

Seven Japanese riders and staff attended the cross world championships
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Relaxing over a coffee

Relaxing over a coffee
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Toyooka Ayako (Panasonic Ladies) tested out the race course many times.

Toyooka Ayako (Panasonic Ladies) tested out the race course many times.
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Yokoyama Kota talks about the course with team staff

Yokoyama Kota talks about the course with team staff
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Japanese champion,Takenouchi Yu (Team Eurasia)

Japanese champion,Takenouchi Yu (Team Eurasia)
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Yokoyama Kota

Yokoyama Kota
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Sawada Toki (Team Bridgeston Anchor) was waiting for the race start

Sawada Toki (Team Bridgeston Anchor) was waiting for the race start
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Toyooka Ayako (Panasonic Ladies) ready for the race

Toyooka Ayako (Panasonic Ladies) ready for the race
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Miyauchi Sakiko

Miyauchi Sakiko
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Japanese champion, Takenouchi Yu's hand made bike "Toyo frame"

Japanese champion, Takenouchi Yu's hand made bike "Toyo frame"
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Riders stayed in Belgium for almost a month

Riders stayed in Belgium for almost a month
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)

While Belgium may be the world's power in cyclo-cross, and the USA might be the biggest emerging market for the discipline, Japan is also a hotbed of 'cross and the top racers from that country took part in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Koksijde on Sunday.

Yu Takenouchi, the Japanese national champion and runner-up Keiichi Tsujiura took part in the elite men's race, but with few UCI points and a poor starting position on the grid, they could not hold off being lapped by winner Niels Albert from Belgium.

In the elite women's race, Ayako Toyooka and Sakiko Miyauchi put up a good fight, and were only overtaken by Marianne Vos on the final lap, finishing just behind 31st place.

The future of Japan's 'cross team is bright, as junior racer Toki Sawada put in an extraordinary performance to take 19th place, while Kota Yokoyama and Michimasa Nakai finished in 41st and 42nd, respectively.

Enjoy this gallery of the Japanese riders in Koksijde, courtesy of Sonoko Tanaka.