• Giant Alpecin's John Degenkolb cruised to victory at the Saitama criterium (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
John Degenkolb won the Saitama Criterium ahead of Fumiyuki Beppu and Tour de France champion Chris Froome.
Cycling Central

Cycling Central
25 Oct 2015 - 6:47 AM  UPDATED 25 Oct 2015 - 2:13 PM

Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), Beppu (Trek Factory Racing), and Froome (Team Sky) broke away three laps at the end of the 57km circuit race with Romain Bardet (AG2R), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar).
From there it seemed to be a genuine race and Paris-Roubaix winner Degenkolb proved too strong for his rivals, beating Beppu into second with Froome third.

"It's really nice to end this superb season in this way", degenkolb said. "And with the atmosphere that the fans create here, you'd think you were on the Champs-Elysées."

“It’s super impressive, everything is so well organized here. It’s just great to get such a warm welcome here, it’s really a pleasure to be here.”

The winner of Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix missed out at the Tour, but ended his season with a consolation prize in the Tour de France showcase designed to reward and celebrate Japanese audiences.

Chris Froome and rivals tour Saitama
Chris Froome and riders from the 2015 Tour de France spent a day together before the Saiatama Criterium with traditional Japanese archery on the menu.