Skip to main content

Gallery: Sutton wins Japan Cup criterium

Image 1 of 15

Sutton and Swift celebrate their success

Sutton and Swift celebrate their success
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 2 of 15

Darren Lapthorne (Drapac) leads the break

Darren Lapthorne (Drapac) leads the break
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 3 of 15

Ian Boswell works with Bernhard Eisel to bring the break back

Ian Boswell works with Bernhard Eisel to bring the break back
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 4 of 15

Hayden Roulstron (Trek Factory Racing)

Hayden Roulstron (Trek Factory Racing)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 5 of 15

Team Sky celebrated taking first and third with Sutton and Swift

Team Sky celebrated taking first and third with Sutton and Swift
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 6 of 15

Steele Van Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) and Sutton (Team Sky) open up the sprint

Steele Van Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) and Sutton (Team Sky) open up the sprint
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 7 of 15

The peloton is lined out on the left of the road

The peloton is lined out on the left of the road
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 8 of 15

Alessandro Petacchi suffers on the wheel

Alessandro Petacchi suffers on the wheel
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 9 of 15

Sutton opens a slight lead in the sprint

Sutton opens a slight lead in the sprint
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 10 of 15

The riders threw their bikes at the line

The riders threw their bikes at the line
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 11 of 15

Manuele Boaro made a solo attack late on

Manuele Boaro made a solo attack late on
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 12 of 15

CJ Sutton celebrates victory

CJ Sutton celebrates victory
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 13 of 15

CJ Sutton won hands down

CJ Sutton won hands down
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 14 of 15

CJ Sutton got a great lead out from teammate Ben Swift

CJ Sutton got a great lead out from teammate Ben Swift
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
Image 15 of 15

Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky) lines out the peloton

Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky) lines out the peloton
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Team Sky's Chris Sutton won the Japan Cup Criterium on Saturday as riders warmed-up for Sunday's headline 151km race on the hiller Utsonomiya circuit.

The Australian sprinter got an excellent leadout from his teammates and had the speed to edge out 2013 winner Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp). Sutton was given the victory after race officials carefully studied the photo-finish. Teammate Ben Swift was third, with Gregor Bole (Vini Fantini-Nippo) fourth and Wesley Sulzberger (Drapac) fifth.

A break of four riders animated much of the 20-lap race in downtown Utsonomiya before the sprinters' teams and especially Team Sky, took charge. Ian Boswell and Bernhard Eisel did much of the chasing before Edvald Boasson Hagen and Swift lead out Sutton. Boasson Hagen held on to take tenth in the sprint to give Team Sky three riders in the top ten.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Sutton said according to the Team Sky website.

“The boys were incredible. Boswell came and started riding on the front straight away. In the closing laps Bernie was just drilling it on the front and got quicker and quicker. I was really well protected by Eddie and Swifty. It was the best lead-out I’ve ever had.”
“Eddie went first and then Swifty stepped off him. I just finished it off and it was really nice to get a win. You know it’s a good lead-out when your lead-out man can still finish on the podium.”

Team Sky is one of the seven WorldTour teams on the 79-rider start for Sunday's Japan Cup race.

Also bringing down the curtain on their season in Japan are Dan Martin and his Garmin-Sharp teammates Nathan Haas, Phil Gaimon and Steele Van Hoff. Damuano Cunego ends his decade in Lampre colours, while Davide Formolo and Moreno Moser will race in Cannondale's green colours for the last time following the take over of the team. Japanese riders Yukiya Arashiro and Fumiyuki Beppu lead Europcar and Trek Factory Racing. Karsten Kroon (Tinkoff-Saxo) has confirmed that the Japan Cup will be his last race before retirement.

The 151km Japan Cup covers ten laps of a 10.3km circuit before a final finishing circuit of 14.1km. Many of the roads are the same used for the 1990 road world championship won by the late Rudy Dhaenens of Belgium.

Last year Michael Rogers won the Japan Cup before it was announced he had tested positive for Clenbuterol. He was cleared of doping but was disqualified from the result, with victory awarded to Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp).