Saitama - Two-time world champion Peter Sagan clinched the Saitama Criterium on Saturday in a tight sprint finish, edging three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome into third place.
The 26-year-old Slovakian, who retained his world road race title earlier this month, tweeted it's a "great feeling to win the Saitama Criterium," which was held in Saitama, north of Tokyo.
In the final lap, sprint king Marcel Kittel, who won the Japanese road circuit race in 2014, jumped ahead of Sagan, Froome and Japanese rider Sho Hatsuyama.
Sagan and Hatsuyama caught up with Kittel before the last stretch to fight in a one-on-one duel, but Sagan raced past the local favourite to cross the finish line.
Hatsuyama, however, was not glum over his second-place finish, saying: "I was so excited. It was a very much precious experience for me to race with so many world-class racers."
Froome, who finished ahead of Kittel to secure the podium, expressed his gratitude to Japanese fans, tweeting: "Fantastic support out on the roads of Saitama."
The 62-kilometre (38-mile) race around a 3.1 kilometre street circuit is organised by ASO, the same company that holds Tour de France.
Last year, Germany's John Degenkolb won the event in Saitama. Froome triumphed in the 2013 inaugural race.
Earlier on Saturday, Japan's Yukiya Arashiro won the 21-kilometre points race while Czech cyclist Petr Vakoc took the 3-kilometre timetrial title.