Beppu races for Japan’s earthquake/tsunami victims in Italy

Fumiyuki Beppu and the Tirreno-Adriatico peloton observed a minute of silence today for Japan’s earthquake and tsunami victims. The stage began in Narni, north of Rome.

Beppu spoke of the incident the morning before yesterday’s stage. With a sad look on his face, he said, “I want to do something.”

An 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit north-east Japan at 14:46 local time yesterday, or 5:46 GMT. It triggered tsunami’s along the country’s coast. At least 433 people so far are reported dead.

Beppu, 27, is based in Lyon, France, during the season, but grew up near Tokyo. Though the quake hit about 400 kilometres to the north, the capital city is also affected.

“I don’t have family in the north, but it will affect even Tokyo,” added Beppu. “They felt a 4- to 5-magnitude shock.”

Thursday, Beppu worked in the closing kilometres for team-mate Robbie McEwen. It’s his first time to race Tirreno-Adriatico, which he wants to use a as a stepping stone for the classics and a possible Giro d’Italia ride. However, he’s thinking of Japan for now.

“I heard in morning [yesterday], now in Japan there’s been a big earthquake and now a tsunami,” he said. “I will focus and think for them today, riding hard today.”

Tsunami warnings were issued across the Pacific yesterday as Japan began its clean up.

Fumiyuki Beppu leads minute

Related links

Tirreno-Adriatico 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index