Pogačar makes a winning debut at the Saitama Criterium © Getty Images

Sepp Kuss secured the second position, and Peter Sagan completed the podium.

Tadej Pogačar penned the epilogue of a success tale and the prologue of a new one. Competing in his Tour de France Saitama Criterium debut, the Slovenian cyclist triumphed in the Japanese city, marking the conclusion of a record-breaking season where he secured a remarkable seventeen victories, which notably included two stage wins in the Tour de France in July. 

In his final appearance wearing the white jersey—next year, he will no longer qualify for the best young rider classification—the top-ranked rider in the world outpaced Sepp Kuss for the victory, with Peter Sagan securing the third position on the podium. Not long before that, Pogačar and his teammates from UAE Team Emirates secured second place in the team time trial, with the victory going to Yukiya Arashiro's Bahrain Victorious.