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“The entire lap everyone is calling my name, and the whole peloton is surprised to hear this all the time. But hey, this is my country, the people love cycling…that’s Japan!"

Photo: Trek Factory Racing




17.10.2015 @ 09:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The 2015 season is drawing to a close for Trek Factory Racing and only two races remain, both in Asia. While the final team race is in China (Tour of Hainan) October 20-28, this Sunday the team will take the start in the Japan Cup, a rare race in the home country of Fumy Beppu.


It’s not only an opportunity to show off the popular Trek Factory Racing team with Fabian Cancellara, Bauke Mollema, and homegrown cycling star Fumy Beppu all part of the lineup, it’s also a big platform for the Trek brand in a bicycling crazed country, and Trek-Japan will welcome the team with a big event on Monday.


For Beppu, a tireless behind-the-scene workhorse who never garners the frenzied media attention of the team’s stars, it’s a fun homecoming celebration and a chance to strut his stuff to some monstrous fanfare. Even with Cancellara ‘in the house’, there is little doubt that Beppu will be the big star Sunday.


“This is my fourth time racing the Japan Cup and every year it's just unbelievable spectators!” Beppu told “The entire lap everyone is calling my name, and the whole peloton is surprised to hear this all the time. But hey, this is my country, the people love cycling…that’s Japan!


“I am motivated for Sunday and I hope to do well, but of course it always depends on the situation in the race and what happens. Bauke is here and he is in really good shape and I am happy to work for him, too, but it’s no secret the fans want to see me do well, it’s more exciting for them. I work all year for the team so why not in my home country shouldn’t I have the chance? I will give my all, 100 percent, and then hope for the best.”


Fumy Beppu recently inked a contract extension with Trek Factory Racing for the 2016 season, and the modest and composed team member, who gives everything for his teammates race after race, was ecstatic to continue in his familiar and instrumental role.


“Next year is my third year with the Trek Factory Racing team and after 11 years of being a pro I feel that this team is my family," he said. "I have been with Luca [Guercilena, general manager] for a long time, I know my teammates very well, some since when I was with RadioShack, and also the staff, and its such a great and happy atmosphere in this team that I could not think of going anywhere else. I am really happy to continue with TFR.


“A few years ago I had a few top 10 results, mostly in sprinting, and I can do a good race for myself also. But we have good riders like [Giacomo] Nizzolo, who, of course, has a chance to win in the sprint, so I am always working for him, like at the Giro [d’Italia] this year. It’s the team objectives that come first, and yes, sometimes it’s difficult to not have the chance to go in a breakaway because I need to save my energy for the next day so I can be ready to help the team again. But I have a professional job to do and so I give everything for the others. I have a lot of experience for this.”


Beppu, 32, is well-known for his professional work ethic and his selfless teamwork, always sacrificing personal glory for team results, but the unpretentious cyclist still has a spark, a competitive drive, to succeed. He is happy and motivated in his role as domestique, but there is still a yearning for a taste of triumph, something he would like to add to his repertoire in 2016.


“I did have some opportunities to go into breakaways this year, like in the Giro, but it was not so easy! It was extremely fast every day,” exclaimed Beppu. “Next year I want to be able to capitalize on the chances I get, I want to make a change for next year and work harder in training and come into the season stronger and more focused and maybe have an opportunity myself - it’s important, too.


“I feel I am still young enough, I am not the oldest, and I feel I have a few years to continue in cycling. I still have the passion and I am motivated. In the back of my mind, there is the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but that is far away…for now I look only one or two years ahead.”


There is still one more race for Beppu before he wraps up the 2015 season, and no matter how he fares on Sunday the Japanese fans will be shouting his name around each and every lap (14 laps of a challenging 10.3km route). For the often understated role of domestique, this is worthy due.


“It’s the end of the season and it’s not so easy for the riders to travel here, but once they experience it they always say Japan is really high quality, the people really love cycling, and they are really respectful – they all say it’s really a fantastic event,” added Beppu. “And now this year Fabian comes, and Mollema…this will be the most important event in Japanese cycling this year.


“The fans in Japan know all the riders’ names, but they are completely different than the fans of Europe. We don’t have so many riders here, but we have a lot of people watching cycling on TV, and it’s a big deal for them to see these professional cyclists in real life. The fans are so excited and really welcome the riders – last year 80 thousand people came out to watch the race!”


On Sunday, Fumy Beppu will be rightfully honored by the Japanese fans; he will be standing tall alongside many of cycling’s stars, including his TFR teammates Fabian Cancellara and Bauke Mollema, and he will battle his foes on the roads of Utsunomiya like his twitter handle reads: 'Fastest Ninja on two wheels'.


Beppu knows it’s the end of a long season and a big question is how he will feel come race day, but he is proud to race in his country: he’s inspired, he’s motivated, and no matter how the race ends, there is no doubt he will inspire a nation.



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