Racing for a Japanese professional team: marvelled Prades enjoys every moment
Benjamín Prades has raced in the farthest outskirts on the planet. For the Japanese team Ukyo, the Catalan professional cyclist travels the world to compete in races that generally don’t find their way on (international) television. Racing in Indonesia is what Prades has amused most – so far.
Team UKYO races regularly in Indonesia, competitions that he finds one of the most amazing ones to do. “On the one hand, Indonesian organisations love to send us over incredible routes with sometimes impossible climbs and ramps. On the other hand, Indonesian fans are some of the most exciting ones I have ever seen. They are incredibly enthusiastic. That country has a little bit of everything.”
Racing in Asia with a Japanese team results in many cultural experiences. Prades remembers one very well, when his family came to visit him in Japan. “On one of our trips, we lost our photo camera”, Prades starts the story. “We went to the information office, and asked whether they had found the camera. They actually did, and the lady at the reception met us, immediately starting to apologize. She said that the staff had looked at the photos on the camera, to identify the owners. We thanked her, and told her that there was not a single issue with that, however, she insisted on giving a compensation for the ‘privacy violation’. She gave us our camera back, and a gift.”
Having joined in 2013, and going into his tenth year with a Japanese team, will surely result in more interesting events and memories for life. Prades: “Since 2007 I aimed to become a professional cyclist, and after a recommendation of a Japanese friend – Yosuke Suga -, who raced a few years for what is now called the Controlpack-team, I finally realized my dream. I got to learn the Asian cultures and beliefs more and more over the last few years, but every year there are still things that surprise and amaze me.”
“I am very keen to race with them for another year. They like to line me up for the races that suit me best, so I can try to score UCI points for them. That is going to be this year’s goal as well.”
This story is part of Nafent Magazine volume 5. Read the full story in our digital or paper magazine. Go to our webshop, or buy yours at one of our 120 partner places.