Chris Sutton says it probably won’t impress his old man all that much but his grinding win in today’s second stage of the 2009 Jayco Herald Sun Tour, was a strong first step towards emulating at least one of his father’s achievements.
Gary Sutton won the 1982 Tour, the year after his brother, Shane began the family tradition. Today the next generation made a serious bid to continue it.
In the 141km stage from Colac to Warrnambool, the young Sutton, riding for Garmin Slipstream, was the toughest of the tough in a field that was buffeted by ferocious winds from every direction as the course weaved its way through some of Victoria’s finest dairy country.
Sutton mused that his father would be mildly happy with his efforts.
“He’ll probably say good onya son but not as good as me. But I think he’s quietly proud of me – especially now I’m cooking, cleaning and speaking a couple of languages,” Sutton said.
“Whilst it is always sweet to get a win, especially in Australia, hopefully I’ve got another couple in me yet. And I’ve still got hopes of winning overall so we can become the first father and son combination to do it.
“I look up to my dad, he’s a great coach. And then there’s Uncle Shane, who coaches me. He’ll say it’s about time.”
After the early part of the day was almost a replica of Monday, with a big breakaway of around forty and a series of crashes that sent ten men out of the race, three via hospital, the finish was a quite a contrast.
This time just six were left to battle it out for stage honours and the all important time bonuses that go with the top three placings. They were the remnants of a thirteen man group that broke away from the lead pack of around 50 riders with just on 30 km to ride.
Initially the focus was on Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) as he continued his domination of the Budget Forklifts Green Jersey with a second win in the day’s two intermediate sprints at Cheese World. Then tactics took over with 17km mark to go to the stage finish on Flagstaff Hill.
Five kilometres further on, he along with 2007 Tour winner Matt Wilson (Jayco Australia) and a resilient David Pell (Savings and Loans) made a break for home, establishing a twenty second break on most of the other leaders but ominously for them, they had Garmin’s Svein Tuft for company.
Predictably perhaps, his mere presence resulted in his team mates, pre-Tour favourite Bradley Wiggins and Sutton being able to make it across to join the group.
Despite a lack of awareness about the uphill nature of the finish, Sutton prevailed just, but not sufficiently to deny Cantwell the prized yellow jersey.
“I had (team director) Henk Vogels on the phone and I knew it was a head wind finish but we underestimated how hard it was,” Sutton confessed after his win.
“I hadn’t looked at the race book. It was a bit of a mistake on my behalf, I guess.”
Cantwell, who claimed on Monday he was happy to have then missed yellow to avoid the associated pressure, clearly had experienced a change of heart overnight.
“It’s a dream come true – to put this (the yellow jersey) on my shoulders. We have had a great preparation, the team has worked inside out, everything together,” Cantwell said.
And he did not rule out keeping it for a good while yet, in spite of the aspirations of Sutton and his mates.
“I have been trying to get as many time bonuses as I can on guys like Tuft and Wiggins before the time trial on Friday. If I can go with 30 seconds on them, I’ll be happy.
“A 10 kilometre time trial is definitely in my reach. I have been working on both my hill climbing and time trialling for most of 2009, the Queenslander said.
Garmin’s domination of the Herald Sun King of the Mountains classification continued through Alex Howes, who won both of the day’s climbs whilst 19 year old Leongatha cyclist Nick Aitken who replaced Baden Cooke in the Jayco Australia team on the eve of the Tour took over the white jersey for the best under 23 rider.
Tomorrow’s third stage should see the wind at the 85 remaining riders’ backs as they journey the picturesque 164 kilometres from Warrnambool to Apollo Bay, with intermediate sprints at Peterborough and the 12 Apostles and the Tour’s toughest climb over Lavers Hill
General Classifications after Stage 2
1. Jonathan Cantwell VAU 7hrs15:17
2. Chris Sutton GRM + 3 secs
3. Matthew Wilson AUS m+ 19 secs
4. David Pell SLV + 25 secs
5. Bradley Wiggins GRM + 28 secs
6. Svein Tuft GRM + 46 secs
7. Jaan Kirsipuu L2A + 1min16
8. Phil Zajicek VAU + 1min21
9. David Tanner RRC + 1min22
10. Nick Aitken AUS + 1min25
source: Jayco Herald Sun Tour