CYCLING/ Tour de France hits streets of Saitama, a first outside France

October 27, 2013


SAITAMA--Briton Chris Froome captured the Saitama Criterium by Le Tour de France on Oct. 26, the first event carrying the prestigious Tour de France name held outside of France.

Froome’s victory came in the main race, in which entrants compete over 20 laps around a 2.7-kilometer circuit. He was also the overall winner of this year’s Tour de France, the pinnacle of racing for pro cyclists, held across France and neighboring countries from June to July, ending at the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Thirty-two cyclists from overseas and 23 from Japan entered the event in Saitama, pedaling through downtown streets at speeds of more than 60 kph. Among the Japanese cyclists was Yukiya Arashiro, 29, who has competed four times in the Tour de France.

The Saitama course was laid out between high-rise buildings in the city's business center, drawing a large crowd of spectators.

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