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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Fans of the team lined the course at the Japan Cup.

Fans of the team lined the course at the Japan Cup.

The Jelly Belly p/b Kenda cycling team traveled to Japan for its final race of the season, the UCI-sanctioned Japan Cup on Oct. 19-20.

The first day, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda riders joined some of the best professionals in Japan for a one-hour criterium.  The plan was to sit in the field and watch the race unfold. Banking on a field sprint, the team led out Brad Huff, who raced to a fourth-place finish.

On Day 2, the riders set out for a 150-k road race in the rain. They aimed to put either Luis Lemus or Sean Mazich in the breakaway, while the rest of the squad waited until the final 3-k hill to the finish. Lemus, who did make the break, emerged from the stage with the KOM jersey, and Serghei Tvetcov placed 16th.

This is the bumper of the team car. A few things got lost in translation.

This is the bumper of the team car. A few things got lost in translation.

With 100,000 Japan fans watching the race, which was broadcast live, the Jelly Belly p/b Kenda team put on a great show. Special thanks go out to Jelly Belly Japan, Cateye and Inno Racks, who came out to the race to support the team.
“This was a great end to a solid season for Jelly Belly p/b Kenda. I’m proud of our riders and sponsors who made the years a success,” said team director Danny Van Haute.

These fans even knew Danny's nickname!

These fans even knew Danny’s nickname!

Worlds, that’s what it is all about. It’s the very best from all over the world getting together to do what we love most — ride our bikes.

This year’s race was in the Italian region of Tuscany. This was my first time at the road championships, and I couldn’t think of a better place for the experience. As a city, Florence, is simply gorgeous!  And food? Well, for a pizza lover and cappuccino drinker, Italy is just paradise. The ‘tifosis’ — fans in Italian — are so into the sport and also very friendly.

Representing your country is another special feature of the world championships. It’s an honor to stand at the start line knowing that a whole nation is cheering for you, and because of that it’s also a big responsibility.

I flew into Florence 10 days before the race, plenty of time to get used to the time zone, check out the course and get ready for the big day. I needed to do some training before the race, and that meant discovering some amazing places. There was not a single day I didn’t get lost when riding either on country roads or in town, but I like to think of it as a way to get to know a place better. I also came to know the people better, asking for directions so often. Luckily for me, Spanish and Italian are not so different. Italians were always very kind and helpful. They were excited about the race and often asked for my name and even a picture.

As for the race, the moment I crossed the finish line after more than four hours of racing, I had a huge smile on my face. I was exhausted, but I knew I had done my best. It was a great learning experience, and I can’t wait to put that knowledge together and come back next year.

Thank you all,

— Luis Lemus