The Japanese Odyssey 2015
  • LoneClimber

    Sinkeldam was found to have a broken scapula, not scaphoid.

  • Dave

    So, with Ewan going to the Giro it looks like we won’t have to wait long to see how chewing the front tyre goes on less well kept roads and tighter sprints.

  • donncha

    Vaughters, Velon et al keep suggesting that ASO having exclusive invite power to their own races would be a disaster.

    ASO wants to be able to exclude zombie or super-dodgy teams.
    All teams want guaranteed invites.

    We’ve had this argument before. ASO previously had exclusive power to pick teams for the Tour. The teams wanted more certainty, so ASO granted all WT teams guaranteed Tour invites. I guess ASO viewed the annual UCI licence renewal process as a decent compromise, where if a team turned into a joke there was at least some possibility of it losing its Tour spot through not being re-licenced.

    However, moving to 3-4yr licences moves the power needle way too far towards the teams, as ASO potentially has to guarantee a zombie/dodgy team 3-4yrs of Tour invites before their licence is up for renewal and their behaviour/structure comes under scrutiny by the UCI.

    Are there previous examples where ASO didn’t invite a top team that should have been invited? I know they excluded Astana in 07? because they were full of dopers, but frankly I don’t think that’s a problem.

    The simple fact is that, right now, all teams have a guaranteed invite to the Tour as long as they remain in the WT. The only way they’ll get kicked out of the WT is if they can’t raise the funding, or if they have too many doping issues (as almost happened to Astana this year), so if you’re running an above-board operation you don’t have much to worry about.

    So, what’s all the fuss about?

    • Dave

      The problem with the WorldTour licensing process is that it has no teeth, outside of the financial requirements which saw Europcar lose their licence.

      Astana were nowhere near being demoted last year. If the UCI tried they simply would have gone to CAS and got their licence back, just like Katusha did a few years back. The only question would have been whether the UCI would have fought the case and lost, or simply caved in because they don’t have the cash on hand for a legal fight.

      The sole potential game changer in the doping side of things is the suspension rule which was successfully applied to Androni-Sidermec. However, it remains to be seen if this will survive a challenge if/when it gets applied to a WorldTour team, given that a WorldTour licence is not so much a licence like a lower-level UCI team has but more a contract with mutual obligations.

      As there was back in 2007, I expect there will be some more brinksmanship followed by a UCI-ASO settlement which will see a minor altering of the balance of power in the ASO direction that would reflect the fact that the UCI currently needs ASO slightly more than ASO needs the UCI. A potential downsizing of the WorldTour to maybe 14 teams could be an option, as could be the power for race organisers to exclude teams with doping positives.

      • donncha

        Yep. I think the fact that the UCI licence process has so little teeth is why ASO have no intention of extending to 3-4yr licences.

    • The teams want 3-4 yr licenses so that they can approach sponsors and say “hey, for the next 3/4 years we will be doing all the big races including the TdF.” But if that gurantee is gone, they can’t approach potential sponsors in the same way. Its all about stability. The goal is to hopefully eliminate the broke ass, zombie team but harder to get rid of doping teams unless there are more rules in place.

      But I agree that ASO isn’t going to start inviting whoever. I think they still want to put on the best race so they will invite the top teams which are the WorldTour teams. Wildcard spots often go to French teams or the highest bidder already but I don’t foresee the race being dominated by those. An all French race would be pretty bad.

      I kind of like ASO’s promotion/relegation idea since there were probably some Pro Conti teams with more WorldTour wins than some of the WorldTour teams. Harder financially but rewards performances more.

  • VerticallyCompliant

    During an Olympic year in modern (Hopefully clean) cycling, TDU would always struggle to get big names to race in January. Would be a big ask to be up and racing already if you want to peak for a grand tour and the olympics.

  • Tokyo Tony

    With respect to the “The Second Japan Odyssey,” what do the organisers provide the participants in exchange for their money (note that no price is listed)? 2400km in 14 days won’t leave much time to smell the flowers or visit “places of cultural significance to Japanese people . . . . [and] experience the magic of the “rural” Japan.” (From the Odyssey website). I note this event will occur over what is called “Silver Week” here in Japan (Sept 17 – 25), which is second only to “Golden Week” in April/May in the number of people out on holiday, so finding accommodation on short notice with little or no Japanese could be a problem, particularly in “places of cultural significance to Japanese people . . . . [and] “rural” Japan.”

    If the minimal information on the website is any indication, anyone wanting a cycling challenge in Japan would be wiser just come to Japan, ride over some of the specified peaks at a comfortable pace and go home.

    • Hi Tony,
      As a insider on the Japanese Odyssey organization, I may be able to clarify a few points
      The entry fees are not defined yet, but we aim to keep them low – think a few hundred dollars.
      In our mind, they should cover the rent of a tracking device, as well as a goodies bag and a meal the night before departure in Tokyo.

      You’re totally right, 2400km in 14 days won’t leave much time to do any tourism – and that’s not really the point.
      What we want to offer is for the riders to get a feeling of what Japan is like when you steer away from the big cities and touristic places.

      Sure, one could go to Japan and do a some selected climbs and sleep in nice hotels, but I think then it’s a different thing.
      The spirit of the Odyssey is really challenging oneself. We want the riders to push their limits.
      I feel like that’s part of the beauty of it.
      Last year, there has been times I just wanted to get off the bike and take a day off. But then you now that the others riders aren’t giving up.
      And then you think “I made it so far, it would be a shame to give up now”. So you find yourself overcoming the pain and riding again the next day, discovering new climbs, small roads beautiful landscapes. And it feels incredibly rewarding.

      And as for the accomodation, last year, the Odyssey took place at roughly the same period, and it hasn’t been a problem. But to be perfectly honest, I don’t think any of the riders really used hotel so much. Most of us slept in michi no eki resting areas and took naps at bus stops.

      • Tokyo Tony

        In other words, the blurb on the website is misleading. It says “go through places of cultural significance to Japanese people. And . . . experience the magic of the “rural” Japan.” But Guillaume says here “that’s not really the point.” I guess he is satisfied to “go through places” without ever discovering the “cultural significance” of these places and why they have it.

        The website says “it is not a competitive event . . . .Some riders will try to reach Osaka as fast as possible. Others will ride for the sheer pleasure of making it to the finish line.” Guillaume says above “there . . . [were] times I just wanted to get off the bike and take a day off.” But because he is competing with “other riders who aren’t giving up” he doesn’t take the time to discover “the magic of the “rural” Japan.” Instead he gets back on the bike.

        He is planning on another trip to Japan. I would recommend he take it a little slower this time and enjoy Japanese food and hospitality beyond that provided by kombini and their toilets. (After Europe, I suppose he appreciates the wide availablity of clean free public toilets.)

        • behra alex

          Hi there. Being a former TransAm Race entrant gives me (I think) enough legitimacy to express an opinion on such long distant cycling events. I have to agree on one thing with you Tony: those events are tailored for hardcore cyclists. You don’t like such endurance events. Ok. Then, move on. But you have to understand and accept that others can have an incredible time on such events as the TransAm, the Transcontinental Race, the Japanese Odyssey,…Plus, being a dot among other “dots” is a top experience.

          • Tokyo Tony

            “It is not worthwhile to go around the world to count the cats in Zanzibar.” (Thoreau)
            I like endurance events, I just like to “endure” at a more moderate pace. Months in the Himalaya, weeks around Hokkaido, days across Japan. Not too fast. I like to stop at the places Basho stopped, soak in rotemburo, catch a few festivals.


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