Jayco Bay Cycling Classic winner Chris Sutton will skip the Scody Australian Open Road Championships this year as his Team Sky wants its riders to debut in its new uniform at the same race, January's Tour Down Under. Team Sky unveiled its new kit just hours before Sutton took victory in Williamstown, Victoria.
"I'm preparing for the Tour Down Under. I'm not doing the nationals as the first time we use our team clothing we're all going to race as one," Sutton said. "They want us to go to battle, as they say, all as one. We're warriors and we're all going to stand on the front line together, that's the way they see it and that's the way they've said it.
"I would love to ride the nationals but if I had the opportunity to win it then I'd want to be wearing my Team Sky kit," he added. "So it's the bigger picture. Hopefully the nationals the following year, you never know. I'd love to win the national title one day, but this year, no."
Sutton's Jayco Bay Cycling Classic teammate Baden Cooke won the final stage, denying Greg Henderson the points needed to take the overall victory away from Sutton. Ironically in just over a week's time Sutton will be leading out Henderson in the sprints at the new team's debut race.
"At Tour Down Under I'll be working with Greg Henderson in the sprints. I'll be there as last man for Hendy - hopefully and I can deliver him to a stage win at Tour Down Under," said Sutton. "That's our objective, to hopefully come away with a stage win. People are saying the overall, but yeah, you never know what can happen but at the moment we're just going there and hopefully we can get a stage win. If we can do that, our team is going to be more than happy. "
While Sutton is disappointed not to be taking part in the Ballarat, Victoria-based nationals, he believes his faith in Team Sky is well founded. Sutton's uncle Shane and highly regarded compatriot Scott Sunderland are members of the new squad's management.
"I've got a big season ahead of me and I'm still learning, I'm still young, so I'm just taking one day at a time. I've got the full faith and confidence in my team with Dave Brailsford," he said.