Yonamine and Gigante ready for Tokyo Olympics road race, time trial

Despite skepticism the Tokyo Olympic Games would move forward because of Covid-19, the road cycling events are still a go – and just a few days away! We’re excited to watch two of our TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank athletes, Eri Yonamine and Sarah Gigante, participate in the road race and time trial representing Japan and Australia, respectively.

The elite women’s 137km road race starts from Musashinonomori Park and finishes at the Fuji International Speedway. The event begins July 25th at 1:00 p.m. (JST) or July 24th at 9:00 p.m. (PST).

Gigante will start the road race alongside a four-rider team representing Australia, while Yonamine, who is the Japanese national champion, will be racing with one teammate.

Yonamine and Gigante will also represent their countries in the 22.1km individual time trial on July 28th, starting at 11:30 a.m. (JST), or 7:30 p.m, July 27th (PDT).

Since arriving in Japan, Gigante and Yonamine have been doing daily recons of the courses with their respective teams. At other times, they’re under strict instructions to stay in their hotel rooms because of Covid restrictions.

Eri Yonamine. Photo/Twila Muzzi

“My teammates and the Aussie staff are so lovely, and everyone is super excited about the upcoming races,” Gigante said. “I am looking forward to both races, kicking off with the road race on Sunday and finishing with the time trial on Wednesday,” said Gigante, who has had a strong return after her crash in the spring. “I haven’t raced since my broken bones at La Flèche Wallonne just over three months ago, so it’s been a long time coming.

Sarah Gigante before an early season TT in Australia.

“The aspects that stand out to me the most are probably the team camaraderie and vision we’ve built, the greenery outside, the cool Japanese food, and the simple adrenalin rush from seeing ‘Tokyo 2020’ signs all over the course. Receiving all my Olympic clothing was also super special!

“I don’t really know where my form is at, but I’ve done everything I could do in the lead-up, so I’m heading into race day already proud of my efforts and grateful for the support I’ve had.”

Yonamine said she wished the Olympic Games hadn’t fallen under the shadow of the Covid-19 virus, but will give it 100 percent despite the trying circumstances.

“I’m a Japanese athlete but also based in Europe,” Yonamine said. “So it was hard and stressful to come back to my home country because of Covid. I have lots of friends, people, and family who are cheering me on. They are looking forward to seeing Olympic cycling events in our home country. I want to show them a positive performance as an Olympic athlete. I hope to do my best in the race. It will be a pleasure to race in my home country as an athlete, a Japanese person, and as Eri Yonamine.”

How to watch

The Olympics will be broadcast in Europe on Eurosport and streamed online on Eurosport Player. GCN Plus is also streaming in Europe only. In the U.K., BBC will also be airing the Games in full, with digital streaming set to be available on the BBC Sport. NBC will be airing the Games in the United States with coverage available on the NBC Sports app and on their website.