Cyclists ready for Tour de Hokkaido

Kyodo

One of the largest road cycling racing events in Japan, the Tour de Hokkaido, opened Saturday, with nearly 100 people from around the world participating to conquer the 516-km course.

The race, marking its 26th year, starts with a 159-km first stage from Asahikawa city to Toma town.

During the three-day event through Monday, participants will pedal through routes across the northern and central parts of Hokkaido.

Riders will pass more than 20 cities and towns, including rough terrain near Mt. Tokachi, spreading hillsides in the town of Biei, and the city of Ishikari on the Sea of Japan coast, as they aim to reach the goal in Sapporo.

The race’s 95 participants, including those from the United States, Switzerland and other countries, will compete in individual and team categories. There are a total of 19 teams.