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  • 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

     

     

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