Paris, 27 July 2009 – Tokyo 2016 supporters Yukiya Arashiro and Fumiyuki Beppu successfully completed the Tour de France Sunday, becoming Japan’s first cyclists to finish the famous and challenging road race.

Tokyo 2016 was inspired by their outstanding performance. Both riders made the top 10 in several stages and Beppu was named the most combative rider in the final stage of the Tour de France.

Immediately hoping their efforts have added to the growing momentum surrounding Tokyo’s Bid to host the world’s greatest sports event in the heart of Japan’s dynamic capital, the pair expressed their Olympic hopes after crossing the finishing line in Paris.

Yukiya Arashiro said:
“Knowing the nation was right behind us made a big difference in helping us to complete the Tour. That’s the kind of support elite athletes from around the world will enjoy if the 2016 Games is hosted in the heart of Tokyo.

“It’s a real honour that the world was interested in our story and I hope our determination has inspired youngsters to take up cycling, just like Tokyo 2016 will do for every Olympic and Paralympic sport.”

Fumiyuki Beppu said:
“This is one of the greatest moments in my career. But I’m aware there is something even bigger that can affect the lives of many more young people around the world. That is Tokyo winning the right to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

“That is why I would like to dedicate my performance to Tokyo 2016, this is the race of a lifetime and I give them all my strength and support for the final months.

“Now we’ve reached the end of our biggest challenge, I’d like to go to Copenhagen [for the IOC Host City vote] to help Tokyo win the greatest race of all.”

Dr. Ichiro Kono, Chair and CEO of Tokyo 2016, said:
“Yukiya Arashiro and Fumiyuki Beppu are truly inspirational athletes who have dedicated themselves to complete one of sport’s greatest challenges. They’ve shown millions of youngsters what can be achieved with passion and commitment. They’ve made us all very proud.

“Every athlete cannot win gold, but they can challenge themselves to achieve their best ever performances and show people how sport’s unique values can bring focus, health and happiness to our lives.

“That is why Tokyo is setting the finest possible stage for heroes in 2016 with an athlete-focused Games plan in the very heart of the world’s largest city. With the world watching and every sports venue full, Tokyo 2016 will have a tremendous positive affect on millions of young people around the world.”

For further information, please contact:
Masa Takaya (Mr), Manager, International Communications, Tokyo 2016
+81(0) 90 6548 6102, masanori.takaya@tokyo2016.or.jp