Japanese on EF Education reserve want to jump – News

Masahiro Ishigami, Hijiri Oda and Atsushi Oka all have one thing in common. In addition to belonging to the same structure of the EF Education-Nippo Development Team, the three Japanese have criss-crossed France during their careers. Masahiro Ishigami was the first to arrive in France at AVC Aix-en-Provence in 2017. In 2016, for his first Espoir year, he already participated in some French amateur events with EQA DS and also took part in the Tour de l’Avenir. “I spoke to my sporting director and told him that I wanted to join a club in France. He was looking for a team for me and AVC Aix-en-Provence was interested in taking me over.”does he remember DirectVelo


The 24-year-old runner has learned a lot in N1 training. “It was very good for training”† Then in 2020 he turned pro at Nippo Delko One Provence. But the experience is short. He took part in some races and the sponsor Nippo withdrew after the first year. ‘It did not go very well’ he summarizes. The following season, after a few months of latency, he joined the EF Education-Nippo Development Team. “Mentally it was tough. They helped me a lot“† At the beginning of 2022, he named the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs and the Tour du Jura Cycliste as his first goals. “I’m more of a climber. But my form was bad. Maybe I trained too much. I rested before the Tour de Bretagne where things got a little better“.

Masahiro Ishigami still lives in Aix-en-Provence. “I train with guys from the club every time and the AVC staff take care of my bike if there is a problem”† He hopes to climb a ladder. “I want to move forward and win races in Europe. I hope to join a ProTeam. This will definitely be my last year with EF Education-Nippo Development Team“confides the Yokohama native who started mountain biking at the age of 5-6 before quickly hitting the road.


As for Hijiri Oda, he started BMX when he was 4 years old. “I started the road in 2016”† He also does cyclocross. The 2nd of the last Japanese championship of the specialty had participated in several events in the plowed in Europe before the Covid. “Next winter I hope to do it again in Europe”† The native of Saitama, where the Tour de France headliners Criterium takes place, joined a Norman N3, Team EC 14-Groupama, in 2019. “This team has given me the opportunity to take a step forward. It was a good experience. Plus I was with my boyfriend (Keisuke Aso, Editor’s Note)† He stayed there for two years before joining EF Education-Nippo Development Team. 19th in the Umag Trophy (1.2) and 21st in a stage of the Tour de Bretagne (2.2), the 23-year-old rider hopes to win some UCI races in Europe. “I am a go-getter. I would like to join a WorldTour team’.

Finally, Atsushi Oka is the last one to start cycling. “I was 15 years old. I used to play football and rock climbing. I have a big brother and he gave me a bike“† He was also the last to arrive in France in 2020, but he integrated the pros directly with Nippo Delko One Provence. “It was a good experience, but it was a bit difficult. I had some problems. I tested positive after eye surgery.† Like Masahiro Ishigami, he found shelter with EF Education-Nippo Development Team during the year 2021. This season he finished 4th in the Umag Trophy (1.2). “I like to sprint, but I’m not a pure sprinter either. I like it when there are a few small climbs like in the Tour de Bretagne. But I didn’t perform well in this event. I crashed on the first stage in the last kilometer and I got a little injured.” The citizen of Tsukuba, who like Hijiri Oda lives on the Zurich side when he is in Europe, also hopes to be able to take a step forward. “I’m on a team for the Espoirs. I’m 26, I’m not young anymore. It’s not a simple situation, I would like to join a bigger team.”

Now the three Japanese musketeers from the Tour of Britain are back in Japan for the Tour of Japan (May 19-22), Tour of Kumano and National Championship, along with Yusuke Kadota and Yugi Tsuda. “With the Covid, the level has dropped because there are no more foreign teams. But we are going to prepare well. From May 14 we will be in training“concludes Masahiro Ishigami.

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