Daniel Jaramillo Wins Tour of Japan, Stage 5
Showing outstanding form after May’s Amgen Tour of California, Daniel Jaramillo took the win on Stage 5 of the Tour of Japan on Thursday, outkicking a select group of riders after a hilly circuit race through the winding roads of Nagano prefecture. The 130.9 km race featured 10 laps on a challenging circuit starting and finishing in Minami Shinshu. The circuit provided action from the very beginning, with fierce attacks flying as soon as the peloton hit the main climb for the first time. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Jaramillo and Johnny Clarke had no problem matching the pace and joined the lead group.
Halfway through the day’s racing, a small breakaway went clear, but with the chance for a sprint finish, the peloton wouldn’t give them a long leash. Without the responsibility of maintaining positions on the general classification, both Jaramillo and Clarke were able to avoid the majority of the work in pulling this move back to the pack.
The people of Minami Shinshu, a town known for its nationally famous beer, came out by the thousands to watch the racing, and the atmosphere was celebratory despite the high heat and humidity. The main climb of the circuit was the deciding factor of the race. At just 500 feet in length, the sudden change of gradient proved to be a challenge for the riders. The pace ramped up significantly with two laps to go, causing the group to splinter. Clarke stepped into the role of domestique, riding across the gaps with Jaramillo on his wheel. Coming into the finishing straight, Clarke pulled Jaramillo to the front of the pack. Jaramillo capitalised, sprinting across the line in first place.
With just enough time to throw his arm up in the air, the satisfaction was palpable on the face of the Colombian climber who is not known as a fast finisher. Jaramillo talked about the finale after the race, “I wasn’t expecting to win in a sprint finish, but I had really good legs today. Johnny helped me out on the final circuit and I could really relax and see how the race played out. I’m really happy for the win, and for the help of my teammates during the stage.” With the outstanding result, Jaramillo moves up to 3rd in the general classification and extends his lead in the best young rider category.
The UCI 2.1-ranked Tour of Japan continues on Friday with the Queen Stage of the race. Scaling the mighty slopes of Mount Fuji, the race will be a spectacle for fans and riders. Daniel Jaramillo’s stage win in Nagano proves he has the form to be a danger on the stage. The long climbs are his preferred territory, as he showed earlier in the year with a win on the final “Gila Monster” stage at the Tour of the Gila, and the team will protect him as the race climbs Japan’s highest mountain.