Chris Sutton dedicated his win Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne to his Sky teammates, after the Australian benefited from the likes of Juan Antonio Flecha and Edvald Boasson Hagen sacrificing their own chances to help him in the sprint finish.
"Today it wasn't just a victory for me but for the whole team because the work they did today was just incredible. I owe the victory to them. We're all really close, like a family. They all rode for me so let's say there's a race tomorrow, we could all work for Edvald, everyone helps each other here," said Sutton.
While he was almost invisible in the race until the final few hundred meters, Sutton's biggest move came the night before during dinner with his team. There he put his hand up, telling his teammates that he had the legs to win. It was an act he repeated the following morning on the team bus and then once again within the final kilometres when Matthew Hayman pulled alongside him and asked if he still felt strong.
"I said to the boys that I think I can win today. I had confidence in myself and had that feeling that you don't get very often. Edvald said on the bus that if we're all there then he would lead the sprint out for me," Sutton said in the post-race press conference.
Kuurne marked Sutton's biggest win in the professional ranks and saw him back on track after a difficult start the season. The Australian crashed at the Tour Down Under last month and despite time off the bike through injury has bounced back.
"It was a difficult start to the season for me. I hit the ground running but on the second stage of the Tour Down Under I crashed and opened my knee. I needed stitches so for nine days I had to walk around with a stiff leg and had two weeks off the bike."
"I then did 10 days of training and went to Oman. I was under-cooked there but it I came out of it really well and settled back at home in Spain."
While Sutton was quick to praise his teammates he also singled out the team's Dutch directeur sportif Steven de Jongh for praise. De Jongh won the race twice as a professional and has become more than just a director to some of the riders on the team but also a mentor and friend.
"We walk around on the bus singing 'I want to be Steven de Jongh' to the lyrics of 'Forever Young' by Jay-Z. I told Steven last night that I was going to win and be like him."
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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