japan cup crit 2012

Usually watching people ride when I can't just makes me feel worse. When said "people" involve the likes of Basso and Sagan, there's really nothing better.
Mario Stein of Cannondale Japan told me once that the Japan Cup is as close as you can get to a TdF type of atmosphere in Japan. 30,000 people showing up to watch the Japan Cup crit this past Saturday in Utsunomiya proved him right, and I experienced the gust of a passing peloton for the first time in my life.

Definitely my road highlight of the year, I woke up sore all over the next morning from standing for hours amongst a dense crowd of fans, but I also couldn't wait to get back on the bike and ride.
Is it road season again, yet?
[TONS more pictures here.]