New Japanese team presented

Riders of team VANG

Riders of team VANG (Image credit: Makoto Ayano)

Asada, the former director of Japanese Continental team Bridgestone Anchor, has founded a new outfit, taking on many of the riders including the Fukushima brothers. The presentation was held in Tokyo, Japan, on March 1, 2006.

Asada has a strong desire to make the new team, VANG Cycling, successful. "We have quite a new concept of a cycling team," said Asada. "The difference to other teams is that our team started on our own initiative; mine and the riders'."

The nine members are mainly from the Bridgestone Anchor squad, including Shinichi Fukushima as a captain, his brother Koji, and U23 Japan National Champion Yukiya Arashiro. According to Asada, there is a possibility of the team recruiting further foreign riders.

The squad is currently sponsored by management company VANG, but it is said that it might get Yahoo Japan as a main sponsor. "It is now being negotiated," said Cho, president of VANG. "An agreement is imminent." The participation of such a major sponsor would have a great impact on road racing in Japan.

With a fairly optimistic long term goal of participating in the Tour de France, the team will start its plan by racing in France, hoping to garner the necessary sponsorship and results to break into the big time.

Courtesy of Kei Tsuji/

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Makoto Ayano/

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