Olympic cycling road races likely to end near Mt. Fuji / Change eyed to prevent traffic jams

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe organizing committee for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo is planning on changing the routes for the cycling road races so they pass by the Yamanakako lake in Yamanashi Prefecture and end near Mt. Fuji, sources said.

The current candidate route runs through central Tokyo. The change is intended to take advantage of the area’s beautiful scenery and avoid causing traffic jams in the heart of the capital. The committee is coordinating with the municipalities involved, aiming for the plan to be officially approved at an International Olympic Committee board meeting next year, the sources said.

The Fuji course would start at the Musashino Forest Sports Center in Chofu, western Tokyo, then pass by the lake and through the foothills of Mt. Fuji before ending at Fuji Speedway in Oyama, Shizuoka Prefecture. In addition to Tokyo, the route would pass through Kanagawa, Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, and would likely be about 266 kilometers for the men’s race and about 143 kilometers for the women’s.

The men’s and women’s races would be on the same route, but the distance would be adjusted by adding extra laps around the lake and the Fuji Speedway area for the men.

The Tokyo committee plans to determine the exact route based on the desires of the municipalities involved and local police departments, which would be responsible for controlling traffic.

Holding an Olympic event in Yamanashi Prefecture would bring to nine the number of prefectures outside Tokyo that will host events.

A major attraction of the route is having the athletes cycle against the scenery of Mt. Fuji. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the global governing body for cycling, has reportedly given informal approval to the plan.

“There are many great views on the undulating course. It will send quintessentially Japanese images out to the world,” a source with ties to the Games said.

The IOC board of directors approved cycling road race courses in December 2015 that would start and end at the Kokyogaien National Garden, adjacent to the Imperial Palace in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

However, after traffic jams in central Tokyo became a cause for concern, the UCI requested a route that emphasizes scenery, and other issues were raised, the Tokyo committee began considering alternate plans.

According to a candidature file, the men’s race would be held on July 25, with the women’s race the following day. Talks mainly involving Tokyo and the three prefectures are planned to discuss how to share operating costs. Speech

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