Asia

Kanagawa, Japan’s Akihiro Takaoka wins at 2022 UCI Gravel World Series Philippines in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija

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Akihiro Takaoka, 44, of Hadano, Kanagawa, Japan was one of the winners of the 2022 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Gravel World Series Philippines race. He is from Roppongi Express.

The race was held in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija, Philippines on April 3, 2022. It was the first leg of the inaugural race series of its kind under the UCI, the Switzerland-based world governing body for sports cycling that oversees international competitive cycling events.

UCI Gravel World Series Philippines 2022
UCI Gravel World Series Philippines 2022

The first and only Asian leg in the 2022 UCI Gravel World Series attracted competitors from Europe and Asia. Participants powered through all the ascents, river crossings, water features and everything else that Bongabon’s legendary terrain put in front of them.

“This is a big boost for Bongabon as a destination for sports tourism,” Bongabon mayor Allan Gamilla said. “We hope to make use of the municipality’s potential to help promote the country and further establish it as major global hub for gravel riding.”

The age groups were 19-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64 and 65-69. The course was 85km for cyclists 49 years old and younger and 62km for cyclists 50 years old and older.

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Takaoka clocked 3:21:59.257, the fastest time in the men’s 45-49 age group. He finished eighth overall.

A total of 349 cyclists finished the race. Each qualifier was awarded with a finisher medal and 25 percent of each rider category earned a UCI qualifying medal and automatically made it to the UCI World Championships.

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Originally from Hadano, Takaoka is currently based in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. He attended Keio University in Tokyo.

From April 2001 to February 2020, Takaoka worked for Goldman Sachs. He held the position of vice president in the investment bank.

Takaoka finished seventh at Tour de Okinawa in 2013. At the National Championships Japan – Road Race, he finished 14th in 2017 and 11th in 2018.

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