Team Sky has announced that Mathew Hayman and Chris Sutton have both signed contract extensions with the WorldTour team for 2012. The two Australians have been with Sky since their debut last year and have become integral parts of the squad.
Hayman was their top finisher in Paris-Roubaix this year and has formed a formidable alliance with Juan Antonio Flecha in the Spring Classics as the Spaniard's right hand man. The timing of his new contract comes less than 24 hours after he won his first race since 2004, at Paris-Bourges. Sutton has also had a strong season, winning Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne earlier this season, as well as a debut stage win the Vuelta a España.
Sky team principal Dave Brailsford paid tribute to the success both riders have had at the team. With Kurt-Asle Arvesen set to retire, Hayman will become an even more valuable rider on the team with his experience.
"Mathew's win this week at Paris-Bourges underlined his huge talent as a rider and he has continued to show all season why he is one of the most respected riders in the peloton. His strength, stamina and leadership are second to none and we are delighted that he has seen Team Sky as the best environment to continue his career," Brailsford said.
Sutton's contract extension sees the team retain another sprinter at a time when Mark Cavendish still hasn't put pen to paper on a deal with the team. However, Cyclingnews understands that a deal is close.
"CJ is one of the most exciting sprint prospects in professional cycling,” Brailsford said. “His stage win during this summer's Vuelta was typical of his talent. He is a rider that is reaching the pinnacle of his career and we expect him to go from strength-to-strength over the next two seasons at Team Sky."
Hayman's contract will run for two years and he was pleased to re-sign for the team he left Rabobank for at the end of 2009.
"I am very much looking forward to the next two years and building on the start we have made,” Hayman said. “The team is full of talented riders and part of my role is to help those guys get the most out of themselves, as well as myself.
"The cobbled classics are close to my heart, I feel like I am close to making a breakthrough in one of these races, the team has been supportive of my ambitions in this area and I would love to repay that support with a win. I will also endeavour to make the Tour de France team because it is every rider's ambition to be part of the biggest race in the world."
His compatriot, Sutton, was just as happy, stating in a team press release that, “it's like a big happy family here and I've made some really close friends. On the road we've also clicked a lot more this season that's been reflected with the number of race wins we've achieved. We're only going to get better over the next few seasons as well and that's really exciting to be part of."
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