Team Sky rewards recent winners Mathew Hayman and Chris Sutton with new contracts
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Friday, October 07, 2011

Team Sky rewards recent winners Mathew Hayman and Chris Sutton with new contracts

by VeloNation Press at 8:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Australians extend after first two years with British team

Chris SuttonTwo off Sky Procycling’s most recent winners have been handed new deals with the team, with both riders inking extended contracts for 2012. Australian’s Mathew Hayman and Chris Sutton have been successful of late, with Hayman winning Paris-Bourges yesterday and Sutton triumphing on a stage of the Tour de Wallonie Picarde. While the riders are valued primarily for their work for the team leaders, the successes underline that they have the strength and instinct to also race for the win themselves.

Dave Brailsford, Team Sky Principal, underlined the value of both riders in announcing the deals. “Mathew’s win this week at Paris-Bourges underlined his huge talent and he has continued to show all season why he is one of the most respected riders in the peloton,” he said. “His strength, stamina and leadership are second to none and we are delighted that he has seen Team Sky as the best environment to continue his career.

“CJ is one of the most exciting sprint prospects in professional cycling. His stage win during this summer’s Vuelta was typical of his talent. He is a rider that is reaching the pinnacle of his career and we expect him to go from strength-to-strength over the next two seasons at Team Sky.”

After taking results in 2009 such as second overall plus a stage in the Tour of Britain plus three stages and second overall in the Herald Sun Tour, Sutton moved to Sky Procycling in early 2010. He very quickly got up to speed, finishing second to Greg Henderson in the Down Under Classic, then netting a stage win on the final day of the Santos Tour Down Under. He also went on to win a stage of the Brixia Tour.

This year brought event bigger succeses, with the Australian winning Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne, stage two of the Vuelta a España and victory on day two of the Tour de Wallonie Picarde last week. At 27, he has several years of improvement left ahead of him and is convinced that he will continue to progress. “I am so happy here [with Team Sky] and have learned so much from the riders and coaches over the last two years,” he said, paying credit to those who have supported him. “Their input has allowed me to improve every aspect of my riding and I'm looking forward to progressing further in the future.”

Aside from the physical aspects, he believes that he’s in the right place for other reasons too. “It's like a big happy family here and I've made some really close friends,” he explained. “On the road we've also clicked a lot more this season that's been reflected with the number of race wins we've achieved. We're only going to get better over the next few seasons as well and that's really exciting to be part of.”

Hayman has won less in recent years, with his last big victory being the 2006 Commonwealth Games road race, but has posted some very solid rides in the meantime. His strength is reflected in results such as third in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, fourth in the Dwars door Vlaanderen and tenth in Paris-Roubaix and now with the morale boost of his impressive Paris-Bourges victory, he should be able to raise his game.

Certainly he makes it clear that he has ambitions for the seasons to come. “The cobbled Classics are close to my heart,” he stated. “I feel like I am close to making a breakthrough in one of these races. The team has been supportive of my ambitions in this area and I would love to repay that support with a win.

“I will also endeavour to make the Tour de France team because it is every rider’s ambition to be part of the biggest race in the world.”

Although most Grand Tour contenders come into their own in their mid to late twenties, Classics riders sometimes develop later. Several have won their first Spring Classic in their thirties, and he will hope to join this group in the seasons ahead. At 33 years of age, he still has time to progress in this area. Equally importantly, his strength should be of great use to the team leaders during the 2012 season.
 

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