Chris Sutton (Sky) will be using the upcoming Jayco Bay Cycling Classic series as a vital part of his Tour Down Under preparation as the 27-year-old hopes to build and improve on one of his best seasons to date. Sutton took out the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne race early in the year before a career first grand tour stage win at the Vuelta a España.
Sutton, who will ride for Urban Hotels franchise team, says the four-race criterium series is key to performing well at the nationals in Ballarat as well as the Tour Down Under in Adelaide.
"I used to race the Bay Crits when I was really young but then skipped them for a few years," said Sutton.
"I have come back to them because the older I’ve got, the more I’ve realised that doing the Bay Crits, for me, helps a lot in the lead up to the nationals and Tour Down Under.
"I always put them in my calendar now."
Despite his goals for later in the month, it will be far from a training run for Sutton who will be looking for his second overall victory.
"I won it in 2010 so obviously for me I would love to win the series again," Sutton said.
"It’s pretty hard to win with so many skilful and talented bike riders so for sure if I can win one or two of the races I would be happy with that but I would love nothing more than to win the overall again."
Sutton has already had some success in the summer criteriums, picking up overall success in the NSW Grand Prix Series in which he won the Wollongong criterium round.
The 27-year-old will be joined in the Urban Hotels line up by Melbourne-based Dutchman Koen de Kort, Belgian Bert de Backer, Tasmanian Bernie Sulzberger, fellow New South Welshman Richard Lang.
Urban Hotels for the 2012 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic: Bert de Backer (Bel), Koen de Kort (Ned), Richard Lang (Aus), Bernie Sulzberger (Aus) and Chris Sutton (Aus).