Mount Fuji to feature in tough Tokyo 2020 men’s road race

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With less than two years to go, the official road race courses for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been unveiled.

Both men’s and women’s events will start in the capital’s metropolitan area and head west across three prefectures (Kanagawa, Yamanashi, Shizuoka) before finishing on the flat roads of the Fuji Speedway circuit, a motorsport race track.

The 234km men’s route will cover five categorised climbs with a total elevation gain of 4,865m, the highest recorded since Beijing 2008 according to the organisers.

Tokyo 2020 cycling road race mens course

Midway through the course, the riders will take on the lower slopes of the iconic Mount Fuji, climbing up to 1,451m above sea level.

Then, with just over 40km to go, they will face a steep 20 percent gradient as they tackle the Mikuni Pass.

Tokyo 2020 Mens course elevation profile

These two key sections won’t feature in the women’s 137km course, which still contains around 2,700m of climbing.

The men’s race will take place on July 25, followed one day later by the women’s event.

Tokyo 2020 womens course elevation profile

‘Daunting challenges’

Like in Rio, when Greg Van Avermaet and Anna Van der Breggen triumphed, the Tokyo 2020 courses seem to suit fast-finishing climbers and puncheurs.

In 2016 though there was less discrepancy between the two courses, with the women’s route just being shorter (one lap instead of three).

“All in all, it will be an imposing course that will offer increasing excitement as it progresses, with the elevation changes providing some of the most daunting challenges of recent Games”, said Yoshiro Mori, President of Tokyo 2020.

Doshi-michi, one of the course landmarks

Spectacular landscapes

The routes will also provide some dramatic viewing, including Lake Yamanakako, another scenic tourist destination.

“The routes will also guarantee an exciting spectacle for fans lining the roadside and spectators worldwide watching the breath-taking images on television”, Unione Cycliste International (UCI) President David Lappartient added.

According to Thomas Rohregger, former Olympic road cyclist and UCI Technical Advisor: “It will be difficult to control the race, and this will allow for lot of attacking and aggressive riding in the first stages of the races.”

Mt.Fuji and Fuji International Speedway: Tokyo 2020 road cycling course

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Author: Alessandro Poggi
Italian-born reporter and multimedia editor. Former long distance runner, now tiramisu lover.