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Japanese cycling stars line up for big money Manchester race

Japan's Kazunari Watanabe

Japan's Kazunari Watanabe (Image credit: AFP)

Five specialist Keirin racing stars from Japan will be amongst the contestants in the JKA (Japanese Keirin Association) Invitation Keirin race in Manchester on Sunday February 25th. Kazuya Narita, Masaki Inoue, Kazunari Watanabe, Shinichi Ota and Keiichiro Yaguchi all travel from Japan where the event is watched by millions of fans. The spectacular JKA Keirin at the Manchester Velodrome will be the last event on the final day of the World Cup 23rd – 25th February which also determines the overall champion nation.

Watanabe is the inform rider following his victory in the team sprint event at the Asia Games in December. Inoe has taken an incredible 108 victories from racing on the busy Keirin circuit in Japan and has finished in the top three in nearly 60% of all his races. Ota is the most experienced rider who won the Keirin Grand Prix in Japan and the men’s kilometre time trial at the Asian games in 1999. The 31-year-old has amazingly ridden in 926 Keirin races at home and finished in the top three in over half of those.

The five Japanese sprinters will battle for the first prize of £15,000 euros against an international field that will be selected after the Track World Cup in Los Angeles over the weekend of 20th to 22nd January.

For full details of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester, visit the promoter's Web site at

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