Nakamura led in the early part of the race going to the four corners—Banzai Cliff, Bird Island, Grotto and Suicide Cliff. He was part of the lead group that included eventual champion Konstantin Fast and runner-up Alexander Dorovskikh of Russia. The three riders alternately held the lead before Fast slowly pulled away when the lead group was riding out of Kingfisher.
Fast ruled the event as he crossed the finish line in front of Mariana Resort and Spa in 2:49:22, while Dorovskikh came in second with a time of 2:51:41, and Nakamura finished third (2:56:13).
“This was the first time that I joined here and I’m happy that I placed third. I could have finished higher but it was a very tough race,” said the 23-year-old through an interpreter.
“The temperature was too high. I really felt the heat, especially going out of Kingfisher where the sun was behind our backs. The conditions were really tough. It was humid with little wind,” added the Chiba prefecture native
The early morning rain failed to help the weather condition get better as it only made the race course more challenging.
“I am still thankful that I had a safe ride. I have to slow down in every downhill since it was slippery. I was really scared because there are portions of the road that are still wet,” added Nakamura, who is one of Japan’s top cyclists.
Other riders were not that lucky with one cyclist crashing and nearly hit by a car right after the San Vicente area going to Isa Drive. Florence Antonio and a female rider were also nearly hit by a car when the driver failed to see them as he was about to turn to Joeten Garapan.
Tyce Mister suffered a flat tire, but Romy Lanuza and his crew were there to help the former. Another Korean rider almost suffered from dehydration due to the punishing heat going toward the Saipan Radar as he was seen lying on the road. He was just merely resting and proceeded to finish the final kilometers of the race.
Meanwhile, in the team relay division results, R-Joe was the fastest 4-member men’s team to finish the 63-mile race with its last rider reaching the finish line at 4:04:07. Team Bat of Tinian came in second at 4:30:51, while ReeJ Team finished third (4:49:55).
Beauty and the Beast topped the mixed team with a time of 4:47:50, followed by Pacific Islands Club 4-Wheel Drive (4:51:38) and Haggan (4:58:15).
God Father (4:08:32), G&L (4:22:59) and Summer of 53 (4:47:44) were the Top 3 finishers in the 2-member men’s squad, while Saipan’s Team Sato (5:13:38) bested Guam’s Weekend Road Warriors (5:40:00) in the women’s division. Tinian’s Bat 2 (4:08:32), D&H (4:16:39) and Father & Daughter (4:20:03) finished 1-2-3 in the 2-member mixed team. (Jon Perez)