The UCI Continental Circuits Chronicle
– Race of the month –
The 21st edition of the Tour of Japan took place on May 20-27. This UCI 2.1 event is the successor to the Kokusai Cycle Road Race which began in 1982, and became UCI sanctioned in 1996, before joining the UCI Asia Tour in 2005. It did not take place in 2003 and 2011.
The 2018 edition consisted of eight stages covering 765 kilometres, beginning in Sakai on the outskirts of Osaka with a Prologue and finishing in Tokyo. The 2.6km prologue was won by Ian Bibby (JLT Condor), who donned the leader's jersey. Japan's Takeaki Amezawa (Utsunomiya Blitzen) won the second stage sprint ahead of Grega Bole (Bahrain-Merida), with Bole moving into the leader's jersey and solidifying his lead by winning the next stage. Bole would stay in the leader's jersey through stage 4, before losing it to UCI Asia Tour leader Thomas Lebas (Kinan Cycling Team) on stage 5, who won the stage in a three rider breakaway.
However, Lebas lost the jersey on the next stage, which finished on Mount Fuji, to team mate Marcos Garcia, who also won the stage. Garcia held onto the lead for the remaining two stages to take the overall title, with Bole taking a second win on stage 7 to claim the overall sprint competition, although Martin Laas (Team Illuminate) took the final sprint win in Tokyo.
2018 Final Standings
1.Marcos Garcia (ESP), Kinan Cycling Team, 10:57:25
2.Hermann Pernsteiner (DEN), Bahrain-Merida, at 0:35
3.Thomas Lebas (FRA), Kinan Cycling Team, at 0:53
4. Chris Harper (AUS), Bennelong Swisswellness, at 1:27
5. Grega Bole (SLO), Bahrain-Merida, at 1:40
– Continental Circuits rankings as of May 28th, 2018 –
UCI Africa Tour - Joseph Areruya (RWA)
UCI America Tour - Serghei Tvetcov (ROU)
UCI Asia Tour - Thomas Lebas (FRA)
UCI Europe Tour - Kenny Dehaes (BEL)
UCI Oceania Tour - Chris Harper (AUS)
UCI Africa Tour - Sovac-Natura4Ever
UCI America Tour - Rally Cycling
UCI Asia Tour - Wilier Triestina - Selle Italia
UCI Europe Tour - Wanty - Groupe Gobert
UCI Oceania Tour - Bennelong Swisswellness
UCI Africa Tour - Eritrea
UCI America Tour - Colombia
UCI Asia Tour - Kazakhstan
UCI Europe Tour - Belgium
UCI Oceania Tour - Australia
– Focus on Steele von Hoff (AUS) –
Currently second in the Oceania Continental Rankings, Australia's Steele von Hoff, riding for the UCI Continental Team Bennelong Swisswellness Cycling Team, had a remarkable comeback from injury at the beginning of the 2018 season. Less than two months after breaking four vertebrae in his back in a crash, von Hoff won the gold medal in the men's road race at the Commonwealth Games. He started the season by winning the points competition at the UCI WorldTour Santos Tour Down Under. Von Hoff's first big results came in 2011 with some stage podiums at the Herald Sun Tour (Australia) and a bronze medal in the Oceania Continental Championships. He joined the Garmin-Sharp UCI ProTeam (predecessor to the UCI WorldTeam status) in 2012, where he stayed for three seasons. In 2015 he won a stage of the Santos Tour Down Under, and in 2016 took stages of the Tour of Norway (UCI 2.HC) and Sibiu Cycling Tour (UCI 2.1). In 2017 he was second overall in the Ronde van Midden Nederland (UCI 2.2).