Japanese pro back to defend title

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Japanese pro Yasue Nakahara negotiates an uphill road during one of the road races she competed in. Nakahara will be on Saipan this weekend to defend her women’s division title in the 2019 Hell of Marianas Century Cycle Race. (Contributed Photo)

Japanese pro biker Yasue Nakahara is set to return to Saipan this weekend to defend her crown in the 2019 Hell of Marianas Century Cycle Race.

Nakahara ruled the women’s pro division of the 2017 edition of the 100-kilometer race around the island after clocking in at 4:01:51 and surviving an ugly crash heading out of the Bird Island Lookout-Grotto turnaround. She will arrive on Saipan this Friday in time for her title defense on Saturday.

Before joining ‘Hell,” the Japanese rider was busy competing for the Union Cycliste Internationale’s team in the Netherlands for the past two years. The 33-year-old is originally a triathlete before she started focusing in cycling where she joined road races around the world. This year, she finished fifth in the 2019 Japan Cup Criterium.

Meanwhile, out to challenge Nakahara for the women’s pro crown are Australia’s Kylie Jill Adair and Russia’s Livia Hanesova Palmares.

Adair just started road bike racing competitively two years ago, but has already shown a lot of promise with her several victories. She raced for the Cyclesport Collective Team—a group based in Brisbane—and won in the 2019 Tyalgum Cup, both in the State Time Trial & Road Race Championship. The Australian also qualified for the UCI World Gran Fondo in Poland and a finalist for the Queensland Elite Female Cyclist 2019 award.

Palmares, on the other hand, races for the Slovak National Cycling Team. This year, the 37-year-old pro competed in the European Continental Championships (mixed relay), National Championships Slovakia WE-Road Race, National Championships Slovakia WE, Aphrodite Cycling Race, and Aphrodite’s Sanctuary Cycling Race.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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