Sutton shines at Vuelta

Bennati takes over red jersey

Last Updated: 25/08/11 10:41am

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Sutton: Took the biggest win of his career in fine style at the Vuelta a Espana

Sutton: Took the biggest win of his career in fine style at the Vuelta a Espana

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Chris Sutton took a resounding victory on stage two of the Vuelta a Espana after timing his sprint perfectly into Playas de Orihuela.

The Team Sky rider moved into position on a tough ramp up to the line before following in the wheel tracks of Vicente Reynes (Omega Pharma-Lotto) as the duo powered away from the chasing pack.

The Australian played it cool with the finish bearing down to pull out from behind the Spaniard to take the biggest win of his career by a clear bike-length and move into the points jersey.

With the favourites for the sprint all scrabbling for the final podium spot, a resourceful Sutton made the win look easy, while Reynes held on for second place and Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) rounded out the podium places.

Sixth place at the finish was enough to ensure that Daniele Bennati moved past his Leopard Trek team-mate Jakob Fuglsang on count-back to claim the red leader’s jersey.

Touching tribute

Afterwards Sutton dedicated his win to Txema González, the Team Sky carer who tragically passed away at the Vuelta 12 months ago.

Sutton told us: "The one person I and the whole team really want to dedicate this win to is Txema. He's gone but he's not forgotten.

"He loved this race and I really wish he was here with us. He'll forever be in our thoughts and I'm sure he'll be watching over us."

Looking back at the finish of the stage, Sutton was full of praise for his team-mates who had put him in position to win.

He said: “For me it’s a dream come true to win a stage at a Grand Tour. We don’t exactly have the perfect lead-out train here but what we do have is strength.

“In the team all the boys today were fantastic. Everyone went back and got bidons, made sure I had enough food and drink all day.

“Bradley looked after me for the last 20km along with Kurt Arvesen. I yelled at Thomas Löfkvist out of the roundabout at 2km to go. I said ‘go’ and he just took me around the outside right to the front. I knew it was a tough finish and I was going left and right and then someone from Lotto just accelerated and I jumped on the wheel.

“I thought ‘oh this is a long way to go’ and I looked back and no one was there. So to win today and to deliver it for all of Team Sky is a dream come true – I can’t believe it.”

Sweltering

The riders were met with tough warm conditions touching 40 degrees during the 174km route along the Mediterranean coast.

With the first categorised climb of the race presenting the chance for a rider to pull on the blue and white polka dot mountain’s jersey, it was no surprise to see a break quickly head up the road.

A four-man move containing Adam Hansen (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Jesus Rosendo (Andalucia), Paul Martens (Rabobank) and Steve Houanard (Ag2r) built up a maximum advantage of six minutes as Martens crested the Alto de Relleu first.

With 33km remaining Hansen opted to strike out on his own and made a solo bid for freedom as the escapees began to crack in the sun, with Rosendo the more satisfied of the trio after taking the combination jersey.

The pace in the bunch began to pick up and with 20km to go HTC-Highroad took control on the front to line out the peloton on the long straight drag into Playas de Orihuela.

A twisting run to the line made life difficult for lead-out trains but a canny ride from Sutton ensured the Aussie was in the right place at the right time, taking a superb victory to hand Team Sky a victory in each of the three Grand Tours.

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