Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) won this year’s Japan Cup road race today, after beating Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) and Gregor Bole (Vini Fantini-Nippo) in a closely contested sprint finish.
In fact, the finale was so close, a photo finish was required to confirm Haas as the winner.
Today;s 151 kilometer course covered 10 circuits of Utsonomiya Forest Park – concluding with a final 14.1 kilometer lap.
A breakaway group containing 4 Japanese riders got underway early in today’s race.
However, all the while Team Sky and Garmin-Sharp kept a watchful eye over the escapees – until the very last lap when they were caught.
From there, 10 riders succeeded in riding clear during the final Kogashi climb.
Tinkoff-Saxo kept the pace setting up front, with their riders Rory Sutherland, Michael Valgren, Manuele Boaro and Chris Juul using their strength in numbers to attack the lead group.
Boaro made several attempts to go clear, but was pulled back.
As the race tackled the uphill finish in Utsonomiya, Haas emerged as the winner, after narrowly beating Boasson Hagen on the line.
Meanwhile, Michael Valgren (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished in fourth, with Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) in fifth, followed by the young Italian rider Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida) in sixth.
The riders celebrated ending the 2014 season with an after-race party in Onion Square, with Fabian Cancellara flying in as a special guest.
1 Nathan Haas (Australia, Garmin-Sharp) 4h06’48 " 2 Edvard Boasso down Hagen (Norway, Team Sky) 3 Gurega-Bohle (Slovenia, Vu~ini fan Tini NIPPO) 4 Michael Andersen (Denmark, Tinkofu-Saxo) 5 Julian Aredondo (Columbia, Trek Factory Racing) 6 Valerio Conti (Italy, Ranpure-Merida) 7 Davide Forumoro (Italy, Cannondale) 8 Moreno Mozeru (Italy, Cannondale) 9 Jan Poranku (Slovenia, Ranpure-Merida) +05 " 10 Christopher Yule Jensen (Denmark, Tinkofu-Saxo) +18 "
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