Steele Von Hoff took his first win of the season for Garmin Sharp, securing victory in the Criterium race in Ustonomiya, 24 hours before the Japan Cup road race.
Von Hoff beat Austria’s Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky) and Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in the sprint, opening enough of a gap to win with his arms in the air. It was the young Australian’s first win of the season. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) finished ninth, slightly off the pace.
Von Hoff tweeted about his victory, writing: “Finally got my first win in @Ride_Argyle colours! Thanks for everyone's help today and throughout the year! Great way to end the season :)”
The race covered 20 laps of a 1.5km city centre circuit, with Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp), Ivan Basso (Cannondale) and Richie Porte (Team Sky) also in action.
They are expected to challenge during Sunday’s Japan Cup road race. Last year Basso beat Martin in a close sprint to give his Liquigas team a final victory before the Italian sponsor left the sport and team was sponsored by Cannondale.
Check out our special photo gallery from the race here.