Kyoto Keirin: The colourful world of Japanese track racing

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Laura from the Peloton Brief lays her bets at the velodrome in Kyoto and goes behind the scenes for the money shot    

Photographs: Laura Fletcher
Keirin - Laura Fletcher

 

 

Gentlemen, to your positions

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

The crowd is sparse. Online betting has all but killed off live spectating

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

Track entry is roughly 35p

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

Checking the odds

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

“We were about 20 years younger than anyone else there,” says Laura

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

Riders are led by a human pacer, unlike the motorised European version

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

Even with padding removed, the racers resemble rugby players more than road cyclists

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

Please remove your footwear

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

A little pre-race balance practice…

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

…and some limbering-up

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

Roller routine

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

Bikes are pleasingly low-tech. Steel frames and spoked wheels are compulsory

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

Final ‘adjustments’

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

And they’re off

Keirin, Laura Fletcher

No luck this time… Discarded betting slips