TOKYO — Despite the organising committee’s warning for people to stay away due to COVID-19 concerns, large crowds lined the course on July 24 to see the Olympic men’s cycling road race.
Mens Cycling Road Race Olympics 2021
Around 4,500 spectators watched the road race at Fuji International Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, since it was one of the few events at the Tokyo Games to draw a large crowd.
As a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus, almost all events at the Tokyo Olympics are being staged behind closed doors.
In light of the less dire infection situation in Shizuoka Prefecture compared to the Tokyo metropolitan region, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games permitted up to 10,000 fans at the finish line for the cycling road races.
The committee has asked spectators to keep quiet throughout the 244-kilometer route for men and the 147-kilometer route for women between Chofu, a city in western Tokyo, and Fuji International Speedway.
Near the starting point of the race in front of Fuchu Station on the Keio Line, steel fences were built along the track and signs were erected asking spectators to stay away from the area. The area, however, quickly filled up with onlookers. There were many rows of spectators lining the course just before the finish line.
As the 84th place finisher, Japanese cyclist Nariyuki Masuda thanked the crowd, saying, “Even when I dropped behind the pack and was riding alone they cheered me on, which helped me a lot.”
Seiko Hashimoto, head of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, was present at the completion of the men’s race and said, “We would like to hold events safely while requesting that people make sure that they respect the regulations.”
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