Yowamushi Pedal Gets Official Road Race Cycling Team
posted on by Eric Stimson
Wataru Watanabe, the creator of the Yowamushi Pedal manga and a big-time cycling enthusiast, formed an official Yowamushi Pedal cyclo-cross team in 2014. At a party after a cyclo-cross event in Tokyo on February 14, the team announced it would change its name from Yowamushi Pedal Cyclo-Cross to Yowamushi Pedal Cycling and focus more on road racing.
The team will compete in the J Elite Tour category, which is second-highest. Watanabe explained that he wanted the team to improve through practice. "I want a team that kids will long for and want to join. And I want a team that will gradually level up and be ready to compete in the Tokyo Olympics." He also admitted that he had always wanted the team to compete in road races. "Even in a low category, there's drama in road racing. I want activities that create interest. I want it to be a team with spectators thinking, 'I'd like to try racing too,' with kids thinking, 'I want to join.'"
The team will use Kuota KOM bikes, the frame preferred by Yukinari in Yowamushi Pedal.
The new team will first compete in the Utsunomiya Criterium on March 20 and will have a race schedule of about 30 per year. The cyclists are amateurs and include Miyoko Karami, who participated in the 2004 Summer Olympics and has experience on the Italian national road racing team; Kōhei Maeda, a cyclo-cross racer and mountain biker; and Hijiri Oda, who ranks in the highest category of cyclo-cross. Karami will also coach and Watanabe will play a supervisory role. Many of the members also have experience with their manager, Shigehiko Satō.