ASO-organised All Stars Tour de France race in Japan?
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Friday, January 04, 2013

ASO-organised All Stars Tour de France race in Japan?

by VeloNation Press at 3:48 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Report states 50 top riders could be invited to October criterium

Tour de France, SaitamaAlthough distances involved make it unlikely the Tour de France itself could ever start in Japan, a newspaper from the country has reported that the race’s organisers ASO are working on plans to bring 50 top riders to Saitama City, north of Tokyo, for an exhibition race which would be connected to the event.

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper has said that a formal agreement between the city and ASO will soon be made and an official announcement will follow.

The plan would involve running an ‘All Stars’ exhibition race, which would have the Tour de France title attached to it despite taking place months after the event.

The race would tie in with the 100th edition of the race. According to AFP, Yomiuri Shimbun has stated that the city’s mayor Hayato Shimizu attended the Tour last year and negotiated there.

An official from the Saitama Sport Commission confirmed to the paper that talks had been held and implied that confirmation could come at some point. “It is true that we are negotiating plans to host Tour de France, but we are not at the stage where we can make an announcement,” he stated.

The plans would involve a criterium-style race and if successful, it could become a yearly occasion.

ASO is already involved in the organisation of the Tour of Beijing in October. It runs a range of top-level races, including the Tour itself, plus Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Critérium du Dauphiné, and the Tours of Qatar and Oman.

The Saitama region has the highest usage of bicycles in Japan and the race could attract a lot of attention there as a result.

The Japan Cup is already held in the country each October, taking place in Utsunomiya. The city is just 105 kilometres north of Saitama, putting both races very close in terms of location.

It would remain to be seen if the two would complement each other, in terms of strengthening the field in the races, or if they would be competitors.

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