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Courtesy of Tour of America's Dairyland[/caption]
Nine Japanese cyclists will join the thousands of racers from over 40 states and over a dozen countries who will compete in the Tour of America's Dairyland
(ToAD) later this month.
The Japan Cycling Federation (JCF) team, and their coaching staff, will make their first ever visit to Wisconsin for the 10th annual road cycling series that runs from June 21 to July 1. The tour will kick-off the team's final preparation for the 2018 Asian Games, which will take place from August 18 to September 2 in Indonesia.
“ToAD is an event that many athletes have spoken to me about as part of a strong North American circuit," said Ian Melvin, a track endurance coach on the Japanese Olympic Committee. "The level of competition each year seems to be getting higher and higher and we’re hoping to find a really tough series. ToAD offers a fantastic opportunity to get a big block of back-to-back high-level race days."
Many of the six men and three women on the JCF team earned medals at this year's Cycling World Cup and Asian Cycling Championships, and two of them professionally compete for Japan's Team Bridgestone Cycling. During their two week visit to Wisconsin, the team will stay at Marquette University, and continue their training with additional rides and strength and conditioning sessions.
If the trip brings success, Melvin said,
the JCF team will return to Wisconsin next year for ToAD, and other races around the country.
“Attracting international teams and riders of the caliber of Japan Cycling Federation is a testament to the global reputation ToAD and southeastern Wisconsin have earned as a destination for world-class cycling and bike racing,” ToAD executive director Bill Koch said.
He said the number of participants registered for this year's race has increased from previous years. That could be because ToAD this year was given a $23,538 Joint Effort Marketing grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.
“Tour of America’s Dairyland raises Wisconsin’s profile as a bike-friendly state with excellent scenery and infrastructure to support the state’s growing bike scene,” said tourism secretary Stephanie Klett. “We’re excited to support the return of this popular event and the positive economic impact it gives the local community.”
The event is expected to attract over 147,600 attendees to southeastern Wisconsin and generate an estimated $2.4 million in visitor spending in the area. In 2017, ToAD attracted nearly 1,000 racers from more than 40 states and 15 countries, with an average of 450 racers competing daily.
ToAD races will take place in 11 communities throughout southeastern Wisconsin, including downtown West Bend, Janesville, Port Washington, Shorewood, and Wauwatosa, which is where the series ends. The series this year will host the 2018 Para-Cycling Criterium National Championship race
on June 23 at Giro d’ Grafton race in Grafton.