Profiles of Domestic Teams As of April 17, 1998
Team " EZAK" ( Domestic Trade Team)
.....This domestic trade team consists of title holders of several major tournaments including National Championships. However, except Tomokazu Fujino who was very active in last year's Tour of Japan and Yasuhiro Nakajima who trained in Europe and experienced many stage races, the riders of this team are relatively old and we are wondering if they demonstrate their strengths as they used to do. We look forward to seeing their ridings which take a swing at overseas trade teams.
Team "BRIDGESTONE" (Bridgestone Anchor)
('98 Domestic Club Team Ranking 1st)
.....This team looks for the higher position in a general time team classification from one stage win last year by the strength of French rider, Denis Leproux who won prizes several times a year in the stage races in Europe. Keep an eye on the ridings of young Shinichi Fukushima, Shinri Suzuki who are top class riders among the Japanese and have participated in the event 3 years continuously, and Kozo Fujita who took an active role in international roads.
Team " ACOM" (Acom Ravanello)
('98 Domestic Club Team Ranking 2nd)
.....How close dose this team come to trade teams by the reorganization of the team with the former Asian champion Xuezhong Tang (China). The team looks for win a prize by the expert of stage races, Keita Seino who returned to the team as the captain, Makoto Iijima as the ace who is the top individual ranking in the national open, and young assistants who are very strong at mountainous courses.
Team "SHIMANO" (Shimano Racing)
('98 Domestic Club Team Ranking 3rd)
.....Yoshiyuki Abe who won the championship in the Japan Cup and delighted the cycle fans last autumn appears as ace in this year's Tour of Japan after an absence of two years. Shimano Racing is the most strongest Japanese team which can look for the championship by the ridings of Yoshiyuki Abe, Osamu Sumida who took a swing at trade teams by winning the general individual best climber's classification last year and powerful assistants.
Team "MIYATA" (Miyata Subaru Racing)
('98 Domestic Club Team Ranking 4th)
.....This team participated in the first Tour of Japan and this year's tour is the second try. The main raider Kazuyuki Manabe is demonstrating the stabilizing power at each event and we should keep an eye on his riding after an absence of two years. This team's total power is relatively low as the team power with other members, but we look forward to seeing the existence of the club team by the strength of the assistants centered around Masanari Tate who has participated in this event 3 years continuously.
Team "NIPPON HODO" (Nippon Hodo Racing)
('98 Domestic Club Team Ranking 6th)
.....This team depends on the foreign riders in this season since the team reorganized last year and is bringing up the young riders. The ace of this team is Takehiro Mizutani who has gained his strength from year to year and experienced this tour twice as a member of Bridgestone team. This team's reinforcement by John Philliipe Duracka who won the general individual time classification in the first Tour of Japan is worth watching in this year's Tour of Japan and the team looks for the general time team classification by his riding and the other 3 foreign riders' ridings.
Team "CHEBRO" (Chebro Artnature)
('98 Domestic Club Team Ranking 7th)
.....This club team is supported by Artnature and powered by former members of the Nihon University club. Since the team mainly consists of former Olympic or International tournament representatives as university middle/long-distance track riders, the team's weak point is the mountain courses and the team is not so good as the general power, but they look for one stage win at flat courses. We look to team manager Koichi Nakano for an active part.