Oct 25, 2014 – Germany’s Marcel Kittel won a sprint finish ahead of Slovakia’s Peter Sagan and Alexander Kristoff to claim the Criterium de Saitama on Saturday.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

The 60km race around a 3km street circuit is held by Tour de France organizers ASO, who last year took the bold leap into a new market with the first event outside France to carry the Tour’s prestigious name.

The “Criterium de Saitama by La Tour de France”, to give it its full title, is a publicity event aimed at attracting Japanese investment to the Tour while boosting the profile of road cycling in the Asian country. Last year’s initial race was won by the 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome of Britain, in front of a crowd of 200,000 spectators.

1. Marcel Kittel (GER) 1hr 24min 39sec
2. Peter Sagan (SVK) same time
3. Alexander Kristoff (NOR)
4. Arnaud Démare (FRA)
5. Yukiya Arashiro (JPN)
6. Romain Bardet (FRA) all same time
7. Valerio Agnoli (ITA) at 2sec
8. Koen de Kort (NED) 5sec
9. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) 5sec
10. Fumiyuki Beppu (JPN) 10sec