Wegmann big in Japan

Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann with a Japanese headband, smiling with his brother Christian

Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann with a Japanese headband, smiling with his brother Christian (Image credit: Miwako Sasaki)

Fabian Wegmann has finally ended his season, closing it out with a second place in the Japan Cup the end of last month. Looking back, he calls the trip to Japan "one of my best experiences as a cyclist," adding, "I was totally impressed by the friendliness and hosptitality of the people. Japan, I will come again."

Writing on his website, fabianwegmann.de, he noted that the main problem with the trip had been the weather. The unending rain was part of a typhoon, and prevented him and his teammates from training and exploring the area. "Our hotel, which was directly on a golf course, was about a half-hour taxi ride away from Utsunomiya's downtown. We went there evenings for dinner and fortunately we had a Japanese guide, because we would never have figured out anything on the menus written in the Japanese script.

"I tell you, the fans in Japan are crazy," he continued. "It's hard to believe everything they came up with to let us know how they felt. From the self-made cardboard Fabian Wegmman mask to a Specialized headband with the Gerolsteiner 'star' as a take-off on their national flag, to the home-made German national champion jerseys, they had everything that you could imagine."

But the highlight was all about a mobile phone: "Shortly before the start of the race, he tried to tell me something in Japanese – which of course I didn't understand at all – and he kept pointing to his phone. At some point I finally looked at what he wanted me to see. I almost fell off my bike. It was about a minute-long clip of the 2006 Tour stage to Karlsruhe. I was ahead and so on, you know how that stage went. The guy was really great. But I had to go to the start and couldn't watch the finale."

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