Following success in recent Olympic Games, Japan has ramped up its ambitions in track cycling by building its first indoor velodrome. It will be the country's first indoor 250 metre venue and is due to open on October 29. Named the Izu Velodrome, it is based in Izu on the east of the country.
Japan is of course home to keirin racing and has produced a number of world class riders in the discipline. In recent Olympic Games it has won two medals: a bronze medal in keirin at the Beijing Olympics in 2004, and a silver medal in the team sprint four years earlier at the Athens Olympics. It is believed that with the new track facilities the nation will be able to step up their ambition, not just in terms of producing more world class athletes but also in terms of hosting events.
The majority of tracks in Japan are designed solely for keirin racing, meaning that they are longer than 250 meters and made with an asphalt surface. This has meant that a number of their top international riders have been forced to train and race abroad.
To launch the track's first racing, the organisers of the Japan Cup and the owners of the track have teamed up to create a 'Track Party' which will take place on October 29.
The organisers have confirmed an impressive line up with Theo Bos, Elia Viviani, Giovanni Visconti, Andrea Guardini, Oscar Gatto, Nicole Cooke, Rossella Callovi and Eline De Roover all set to compete.
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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