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Accent on Fumiyuki Beppu - Discovery Team
By Staff
Date: 11/20/2004
Accent on Fumiyuki Beppu - Discovery Team

The Lance Armstrong Official Fan Club, The Paceline, had this profile of one of Discovery's new young guns this week - Fumiyuki Beppu from Japan.

Fumiyuki has competed the last two seasons with the French team, VC La Pomme Marseille. This club is apparently a regular "feeder" line to the French pro teams: from its ranks in earlier years came Mark Scanlon (AG2R) and Fabian Sanchez (FdJ), while for 2005 five of its riders will turn pro. They are Beppu, Philip Deignam (AG2R), Rémy Di Gregorio (FdJ), Nicolas Roche (Cofidis) and Hubert Dupont (RAGT). This team also has David Thierry in its ranks, who was second on GC at the Tour du Faso earlier this month. It also had two stagiares riding this season, Rémi Pauriol (AG2R) and Sacha Sabalin for Acqua e Sapone.

Beppu's successful amateur career includes highlights such as winning the 2003 Japanese U23 road championship and also the Asian Junior road championship. Beppu's 2004 season against European U23 competition had many solid results, including:

1st Mountains Classification, Ronde de l'Isard d'Ariege (FRA)
2nd Stage 5, Tour du Loir-et-Cher (FRA)
3rd in GC Tour du Loir-et-Cher (FRA)
3rd GP Citta' di Felino (ITA)
3rd GP d'Espi (FRA)
3rd Trophee des Champions (FRA)
3rd GP de Rocheville (FRA)
5th Stage 2, Tour du Loir-et-Cher (FRA)
5th Tour d'Eure et Loir International Espoirs (FRA)
5th Grand-Prix d'Antibes (FRA)
6th Stage 3, Tour du Loir-et-Cher (FRA)
7th Stage 3, Tour des Pyrenees (FRA)
9th Annemasse-Bellegarde-Annemasse (FRA)

On the addition of Beppu to the team, sports manager Johan Bruyneel said, "For Discovery, we know the goal is to remain a global team. That is a very appealing aspect of this team and we know it's a goal of the sponsorship - the goal is to be a global team. We saw the addition of a rider like Beppu as a way to assist Discovery in reaching all of its desired markets. Plus, if you see his results, he is an interesting young rider with some potential."

Bruyneel added that Beppu has lived in France the last two years while riding for VC La Pomme and has immersed himself in the European lifestyle, a key component to any international rider's chances of success while racing in Europe.

"What I know of him is that he has raced at the Worlds the last three or four years in a row and has improved each year and this season had some good results," added Bruyneel.

Bruyneel added that Beppu will likely race a schedule in 2005 similar to the young riders and neo-pros on the USPS team this season - riders like Pat McCarty, Stijn Devolder and Jurgen van den Broeck - small stage races and some one day events. "And of course, any races we do in Asia, he will be first on the list," said Bruyneel.

Getting to know Beppu…

What made you start cycling?

In 1990 my oldest brother got interested in cycling road racing for the first time after watching the Road World Championships in Utsunomiya on TV. So I was influenced by my brothers - I have two brothers, my 2nd eldest brother Takomi is a pro cyclist too. And I am fascinated with the Tour de France.

How long have you been racing in cycling?

My first race (MTB) was at the age of 9 in 1992. I participated in my first road race at the age of 12, and I won. So my career is 12 years, mostly in the amateur and junior ranks.

How popular is pro cycling in Japan?

The popularity about pro cycling is far from baseball & football. But we get live coverage of the Tour de France, Giro, Vuelta, and all the World cup series. It is getting more popular step by step. And on the internet, we have - like, that covers international and domestic road racing Japanese. Hopefully now the interest will be double by me racing for Team Discovery (maybe)!

How many other Japanese riders are racing in Europe or have raced in Europe in the past? In the past, we had some cyclists racing in Europe (France, Italy, Belgium, Swiss, Spain, Netherlands etc.). Now Japan has three "TT3" teams; Team Bridgestone Anchor (based in France), Team Nippo (based is in Italy), and Shimano Racing (based in Japan).

With the Discovery team, what are your goals in cycling in 2005 and what are your career goals?

In 2005, I want to become a "pro" cyclist with some ability. In my career, I want to win a stage of the Tour de France, and would really like to win one of the major Classic races. 

Best of luck to Beppu in 2005!

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