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Fukuoka Takes Second-Straight Grand Tour Kyushu to Bring Its 62-Year History to a Close

translated and edited by Brett Larner
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The eighth, final and sweetest of the eight days making up the 62nd running of the Grand Tour Kyushu ekiden took place Nov. 3, the day's six stages spanning 83.8 km from the Yuhata Nishi Ward Offices in Kita-Kyushu to the Nishi Nippon Newspaper building in Fukuoka.  The hometown Fukuoka team won the day, its third individual day win of the tour, to make up a 3:42 deficit at the end of the seventh day and overtake Miyazaki for its second-straight overall win by a margin of just 2 1/2 minutes over the full 739.9 km distance, the 26th overall title in its history.  It was a perfect ending to bring the Grand Tour Kyushu's long and celebrated history to a close.

Fukuoka trailed Miyazaki through the Fourth Stage until Fifth Stage man Shuji Yoshikawa (Team Kyudenko) moved into first.  Fukuoka's anchor, Moscow World Championships marathoner Kazuhiro Maeda (Team Kyudenko), sealed the deal with a stage win to give Fukuoka the day by a margin of 6:16 over Miyazaki.

Fukuoka's Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) won the Tour's MVP award for winning all three of his stages including one stage record.  Kumamoto Prefecture's Naoki Inoue (Aoyama Gakuin Univ.) won the Best Newcomer award.  Kagoshima Prefecture was the most improved team, taking 10:39 off its overall time from last year.  Both Fukuoka and Miyazaki won three individual days, with Nagasaki Prefecture picking up the other two.


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