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Saitama Criterium by Le Tour de France: Froome, Sagan and Kittel will be there

news25.09.2013Pre-race

© A.S.O.

The first edition of the Saitama Criterium by Le Tour de France will bring together the key riders of the 2013 Tour, starting with its clear winner, Chris Froome, plus green jersey Peter Sagan and the new king of sprint, Marcel Kittel. The Mayor of Saitama has welcomed several journalists to Tokyo to inform them about the competition and has some surprises up his sleeve for the coming months...

The strategies and roadmaps for 2014 have not been defined yet, but the giants of the peloton have written the date of their last challenge for the 2013 season in their diaries: October 26th at Saitama for a day's competition in a new format. That is the day when Chris Froome will again wear the Yellow Jersey and race number 1 that he wore in July. The British rider will take on a challenge that may be even more difficult for him on the 2.7-kilometre circuit traced in the city centre. Among the likely winners, we should also keep an eye on the Green Jesey in 2012 and 2013, Peter Sagan, and Marcel Kittel, the winner of the Tour stages in Bastia, Saint-Malo, Tours and the Champs-Elysées. Simon Gerrans, another holder of the Yellow Jersey and stage winner in Corsica, has started training for the race in Saitama. Christophe Riblon, who was the most combative rider in the Tour de France and won the Alpe d'Huez stage, will also have a chance to show the quick reflexes he has learned from track cycling in Saitama's points races. Other possible candidates are Japanese riders such as their national champion Yukiya Arashiro and Fumiyuki Beppu.

Chris Froome, Yellow Jersey in the 2013 Tour de France
“I haven't often had the chance to ride in Japan, but on my previous visit I found the fans particularly welcoming and enthusiastic about their discovery of cycling. It will be an honour for me to show the Yellow Jersey to all the Japanese supporters of the Tour de France. I hope to do well and stay fit after the World Championship to prepare for the Saitama Criterium, and I will try and win there.”

Marcel Kittel, winner of four stages in the 2013 Tour de France
“I am keen and impatient to go to Japan. I've never been there, although I understand that a lot of spectators will line the route and that there will be a great atmosphere because the people there do not see a peloton of this level very often. I've had a fantastic season so far, and finishing it with a trip like this is incredible. All the more so because I like the design of the race. It's perfect for sprinters, so I hope to give a good account of myself and win it.”

Christophe Riblon, winner at Alpe d'Huez and Most Combative Rider in the 2013 Tour de France
“It's a pleasure to be invited to such a prestigious Criterium; I consider it an extra bonus for my victory at Alpe d'Huez this summer. I love travelling and I have never been to Japan, so I am very curious to see what it's like. As for the competition itself, a points race is a format that could suit me. I don't know about the others, but personally I will be in good shape because I will have taken part in the Tour of Beijing the previous week. So, things are in place for me to go after a result and end the season on a high note.”

Riders list
Sky Procycling : Froome (Gbr), Porte (Aus), Thomas (Gbr), Kennaugh (Gbr). Cannondale Pro Cycling : P.Sagan (Slq), Basso (Ita), Masuda (Jap), J.Sagan (Slq). Team Argos-Shimano : Geschke (All), Kittel (All), Timmer (Hol), Veelers (Hol). Orica GreenEdge : Gerrans (Aus), Beppu (Jap), Meier (Aus), Clarke (Aus). AG2R La Mondiale : Gadret (Fra), Riblon (Fra), Bardet (Fra), Kadri (Fra). FDJ.fr : Vichot (Fra), Roy (Fra), Veikkanen (Fin), Geniez (Fra). Team Europcar : Arashiro (Jap), Jérôme (Fra), Gene (Fra), Cousin (Fra). Japanese riders : Kosaka, Ikebe, Tsuji, Hashimoto, Tsujimoto, Kanai, Hirahara, Ota, Inoue, Sasaki, Shimada, Sano, Nakajima, Nishitani, Mori, Shimizu, Hatsuyama, Kuboki, Fukushima, Uchima, Hatanaka, Yoshida, Doi, Takenouchi, Nishizono.

The news in pictures

photo15/10/2013 

© A.S.O.

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