Friday, November 1, 2013

Miyazaki Leads Fukuoka Six Days Into Final Grand Tour Kyushu

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Running on home ground on Nov. 1 the Miyazaki Prefecture team won the sixth day of the 62nd running of the Grand Tour Kyushu ekiden.  Showing the hometown crowd its fire, Miyazaki lead over the six legs and 86.7 km from the Miyazaki Prefectural Government building to Nobeoka City Hall to claim its third individual day win so far in the eight-day ekiden.  Fukuoka Prefecture was close behind in 2nd, with Nagasaki Prefecture a distant 3rd.

Aiming to return to the top for the overall win in the Grand Tour Kyuhsu's final running, Miyazaki overtook Fukuoka early in the day to take over the top position.  Miyazaki runners won the first five of the day's stages, building a commanding lead of over seven minutes by the start of the Sixth Stage.  After his teammates struggled throughout the day, Fukuoka anchor Ryuji Watanabe (Team Toyota Kyushu) ran with guts and determination, closing the gap by more than two minutes to finish 4:49 behind Miyazaki, his third individual stage win in three starts at this year's Tour.

Behind 3rd-place Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Yamaguchi, Saga, Kumamoto and Oita remain in close contention for a podium finish with Okinawa a distant 9th.  Day seven of the Grand Tour Kyushu, at eight stages and 127.3 km the longest of the race, kicks off at the Oita Prefectural Government offices at 9:00 a.m. on Nov. 2 and finishes later in the day in front of Kita-Kyushu City Hall.

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