News: Victory for Chris Sutton

Chris Sutton sprinted to victory on stage two at the Circuit Franco-Belge as Team Sky stamped their authority on the day.

The team kept the pace high in the closing stages, stringing out the peloton to lead the Australian to his third victory of the year in front of the crowd in Poperinge.

Sutton held off the attentions of Tom Veelers (Skil-Shimano) and Adrien Petit (Cofidis) at the finish as the team bounced back from a difficult sprint on stage one in fine style.

Life was made significantly easier during the day as, following numerous attempts to infiltrate the break on stage one, persistence finally paid off in the early going as Kjell Carlström forced his way into a move which powered clear as the peloton left Menin.

That allowed the team to keep their powder dry until things came back together on the Belgian finishing circuit, controlling the final kilometres to put Sutton in a strong position, level on time with Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) at the top of the general classification.

Fresh off the podium Sutton was quick to heap praise onto his team-mates for what turned out to be a towering performance: “The team took the bull by the horns and really gave it some today for me. It was just incredible and to finish off their beautiful work was amazing,” he said.

“The whole team was up there at the end. It was just a perfect lead-out. Two Skil-Shimano riders wanted to box onto Mat Hayman’s wheel and I just let them on. Russ [Downing] was just in behind me protecting me. He was going to come around at the last minute if we ran out of men but Mat was going like 10 men.

“Then we hit he pavé which is where he really excels and he just got quicker and quicker. The Skil guys went too early and I just got a perfect run. It’s been a great day not just for me but all the boys and the whole team.

“I haven’t really thought about the overall I just wanted to win a stage here. I feel like I’ve got pretty good form off the Vuelta and then carried it on through the Worlds. I just want to keep the ball rolling.”

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