Mitchelton-SCOTT return as the defending champions to Japan Cup with a small but motivated team

Thu 17 Oct 2019

Mitchelton-SCOTT head to Japan for this weekend’s Japan Cup with a small team, motivated for a strong performance as they return to the event as the defending champions.

The Japanese race is held over two-days with a short criterium followed by a fast road race for the 28th edition of the event. The team line-up features two Australians in multiple track word champion Cameron Meyer and young talented neo-pro Rob Stannard, plus two New Zealanders, in fast finisher Dion Smith and stagiaire James Fouche. 

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team

James Fouche (NZL, 21) * stagiaire 
Cameron Meyer - (AUS 31)
Dion Smith - (NZ 26) 
Rob Stannard - (AUS, 20)

The Courses

The riders warm up on Saturday with a short lung busting criterium, just 38kilometres in length, raced over 15laps of a circuit. Sunday is the main road race event which is raced over 14 laps of a 10.3kilometre circuit and includes a steep three-kilometre climb each lap around Utsunomiya City Forest Park.

Previously in Japan Cup

Last year the team tasted success with former rider Rob Power taking the race victory with after escaping along side one other rider in the main road race and the duo held off the chasing peloton with Power taking the victory. 

Teammate Rob Stannard also performed well in 2018 in what was his first race with the Australian outfit. finishing in eighth place in the road event and just off the podium in the criterium race.

Dion Smith

"We have lost a couple of guys due to injury and illness which is a shame but the team we have is solid and it’s another good opportunity for a result. It would be awesome to win and with it being the last race of the year for us too it would cap of a great year. It is also my first time racing in Japan so I am excited to race somewhere different and see the Japanese fans, I’ve heard good things.

"Cameron is coming back from some time off so he will be nice and fresh and he’s always reliable even if he’s not in his best for. I know Fouche and he’s a strong rider so I think it will be a good opportunity for him to show his strengths and for me knowing he’s capable of doing his job."

Matt Hayman

“It is a shame we have had so many injuries in the last couple of weeks and we have to start with a  couple of guys short but that being said, coming off the back of the win last year we want to go back and perform well. It will be a good chance to finish off the season for these guys and go out with a bang.

“In the criterium we are looking for Rob, he’s quick, he was up there last year just off the podium so hopefully he can get onto the podium this year. 

“For the road race, we have Cameron, who is just coming off the off-season as he starts to prepare for the Olympics next year so we’re not hoping for too much from him but we also have Rob and Dion, Dion coming out of the Vuelta should still have some good form and rob is always up for a race.

"For James it will be his final race as a stagiaire for our team so I am sure he will be out to impress and not only show the jersey off not only for our team but for other teams in the race.”

Japan Cup Race Details:

Saturday, 19th October: Utsunomiya Odori Special Course, Criterium, 38.3km - 15laps 
Sunday, 20th October: Utsunomiya City Forest Park, 144.2km Road Race - 14laps

Photo courtesy of Getty Images