Wataru Watanabe, the mangaka behind Yowamushi Pedal, is one huge cycling enthusiast. Despite being busy as a mangaka (though not in the same level as One Piece’s Eiichiro Oda), he still has some time to ride his bike with his buddies. Back in 2014, he formed the official Yowamushi Pedal cyclo-cross team in 2014, and during a cyclo-cross event in Tokyo last 14 February, he and his teammates have announced that they will be changing their name from Yowamushi Pedal Cyclo-Cross to Yowamushi Pedal Cycling.
The team will now be focusing more on road racing, and will be competing in the in the J Elite Tour category, which is regarded as second-highest category in Japan. Watanabe has big dreams for his team, and said that:
“I want a team that kids will long for and want to join. And I want a team that will gradually level up and be ready to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.”
He also added that:
“Even in a low category, there’s drama in road racing. I want activities that create interest. I want it to be a team with spectators thinking, ‘I’d like to try racing too,’ with kids thinking, ‘I want to join.'”
The team will be using Kuota KOM bikes, which are the ones being used by Yukinari in the Yowamushi Pedal manga, and they will be using those bikes on their first competition, which will be the Utsunomiya Criterium on 20 March.
The team comprises of Wataru Watanabe himself, who will play a supervisory role. He is joined by Miyoko Karami, who participated in the 2004 Summer Olympics and has experience on the Italian national road racing team; Kouhei Maeda, a cyclo-cross racer and mountain biker; and Hijiri Oda, who ranks in the highest category of cyclo-cross.