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by Neal Rogers
October 23, 2017
Wellens wins Tour of Guangxi queen stage, takes overall lead; Canola makes history with back-to-back wins at Japan Cup races; Van der Poel solos to victory at Koksijde World Cup; Kaptheijns dominates women’s field at Koksijde to take first World Cup win; Wells and Welsford win Mitchelton Tour of Gippsland; Moped drove over Bakelants’ legs after 11 fractured bones at Lombardia; Tour de L’Ardeche winner Lucy Kennedy signs with Orica-Scott; Video: Tacks sprinkled across race course at Tour of Guangxi.
Italian sprinter Marco Canola secured an important couple of victories for his Nippo-Vini Fantini team in Asia this weekend, winning the Japan Cup criterium on Saturday and then taking the road race on Sunday. He is the first rider to ever take the two events in the same year.
“I’m so happy for this victory. It has such a big value for the team and for me,” he said. “Our team is Italian-Japanese and this is the best gift we can do to our sponsor and to our fans for the trust they give us everyday. I want to dedicate this victory to all our sponsors, today here also from Italy, and to my mother that was sick. I know that for sure I give her a big satisfaction.”
The team’s headline sponsor Nippo is a Japanese company and landing victory on home soil is a huge boost for it. Second place in the road race went to the Portuguese rider Benjamin Prades (Team UKYO) while Takeaki Amezawa (Utsunomiya Blitzen) third. Trek-Segafredo’s Jasper Stuyven was the best known rider in the top ten, taking sixth, while Australian Ben Hill (Attaque Team Gusto) was seventh.
The victory was Canola’s sixth of the season, and the 12th for the team. It also had big significance for director sportif Mario Manzoni, who returned to Japan 27 years after helping then-Italian teammate Mirco Gualdi to victory in the amateur world championships in Utsunomiya.