Team Sky’s Chris Sutton ready to go for stage wins in Oman
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Team Sky’s Chris Sutton ready to go for stage wins in Oman

by Conal Andrews at 7:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Psyched after his stage win on the final day of the Santos Tour Down Under, Team Sky rider Chris Sutton is counting down the days to the start of the Tour of Oman. He’ll head to the race as one of the protected riders, and has said that he’s ready to either go for stage wins or to support another fast rider on the team.

"I felt a bit heavy after the Tour Down Under but the training's been going really well this week,” he said on the team website. “I've felt stronger which is good so I've got a couple of days to freshen up and hopefully I'll be moving alright when I get to Oman.

"I'll just do whatever is asked of me. I'll go there and I'll be working with Edvald Boasson Hagen. We'll see how he pulls up after Qatar and he's clearly going alright there. But if he's not up to it at any point then obviously I'll step up and take the sprinter's role.

"I'll be talking with the director, Steven de Jongh, when I get there and we'll just see what the best plan is. He's in Qatar now so is clearly going to know how everyone comes out of that."

The Australian has had a very impressive past six months, winning a stage and finishing second overall in the Tour of Britain, taking three stages and another GC runner up slot in the Herald Sun Tour, then taking the Overall Bay Classic Series. His Team Sky debut has continued at the same pace, with Sutton picking up second in the Cancer Council Helpline Classic and netting that final-day Tour Down Under stage win.

Oman will be his next chance to show what he can do. He’ll join Edvald Boasson Hagen, Juan Antonio Flecha, Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and Lars-Petter Nordhaug, who are currently racing in Qatar, plus Mathew Hayman and Davide Viganò in the February 14 – 19 event. After that, he’ll move on to Belgian races like the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne in order to help continue building form for the April Classics.

"After Oman I have to be good for that one week in April when I need to play my role for Mat Hayman, Juan Antonio Flecha, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Kurt Arvesen, if he's back from his [broken] collarbone,” he said.

"I'll be trying to learn from them too but I'll be doing everything possible to make sure those guys get the easiest ride that they can, especially in Roubaix."

Australian win shows team cooperation:

Sutton emphasises the value of teamwork in the Sky squad, saying that he benefited from it in his recent Australian success.

"The whole squad just worked so well together - we'd do anything for each other. We're a new team and I guess you could say there were ups and downs but when it all comes together it pays off."

That was very evident on the final stage, when the other Sky riders dug deep to set he and Greg Henderson up for the finale. The duo took first and second in the gallop to the line, ending the Santos Tour Down Under on a high.

"It was the whole team - it really was," he said. "It all started with Froomey, taking us up the climb and getting us up to the front, and then Russell Downing - we call him the little bulldog - just drilled it on the front with his never-say-die attitude.

"Then you've got Davide Viganò and he did a huge turn and ripped it up through the park section, handing on to Mat Hayman who just got faster and faster. It's then Swifty, me and Hendy, the three sprinters with 300 metres to go. To wreck it from there would have been a shame, but it worked out to perfection."

The target now is to reproduce that in Oman, and beyond.

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