Critérium hosted by the Tour de France
World Champion and three Blue team-mates -Rubén Fernández, Imanol Erviti and Jorge Arcas- visit Japan this week, enjoy non-official ASO race as #BalaArcoíris raises his arms at the finish.
A week of beautiful sensations has seen four Movistar Team riders travel to, and enjoy, at Saitama, a city in the Kanto region located just about 20km north from Tokyo. Alejandro Valverde, Jorge Arcas, Imanol Erviti and Rubén Fernández were invited by the organisers of the Saitama Criterium to participate in the events held by the Japanese prefecture to celebrate on the end of the cycling season, a party coordinated by the Tour de France.
The World Champion was present on Saturday at an exhibition with mini-bikes and a baseball clinic, followed a day later by the three cycling, non-competitive events acting as core of the weekend: a series of sprints between groups of four riders -a resemblance of the ‘keirin’, a track discipline really popular in Japan-, a team time trial for all Blue riders over the main circuit and, finally, the 19 laps of the main race, where Valverde raised his arms first in front of Geraint Thomas (SKY) and Yukiya Arashiro (TBM).
"I hope I can return to Japan soon, to enjoy bike racing and this beautiful country. We want more races here, in front of these amazing fans!" #BalaArcoíris 🌈🇯🇵 #SaitamaCriterium #2018さいクリ #jspocycle pic.twitter.com/SC3Yu4cZLY
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) November 4, 2018
A rewarding, unique experience, in front of the warm, enthusiastic Japanese fans, which the Telefónica-backed squad’s members, in some cases joined by their couples and family members, will extend until halfway through next week to know the area and enjoy some well-deserved rest.