It is already early November, but a post-Tour criterium took place in Japan on Sunday morning Belgian time. The Saitama Criterium had a nice winner with white jersey Tadej Pogacar.
Many cycling stars had traveled to the land of the rising sun. White jersey Tadej Pogacar, stage victory record holder in the Tour Mark Cavendish, polka dot jersey Giulio Ciccone, multiple overall winner Chris Froome, Vuelta winner Sepp Kuss and stuntman Peter Sagan were present, among others.
As befits a criterion, it was also these big names who would populate the stage. In the penultimate of seventeen laps of 3.5 kilometers each, Kuss, Pogacar and the retiring Sagan took off. With the rag in sight, the three had a 17-second gap on the rest.
Kuss – the slowest of the three – did not want to wait for his sprint and tried with a late lunge attempt. Sagan cracked, but Pogacar held firm. In the sprint à deux, the American had no chance against the Slovenian. He succeeds his former teammate Jasper Philipsen on the honors list of the criterion organized by ASO. Sagan finished third, Cavendish won the sprint from the peloton for fourth place.
Watch the final kilometer below: