Tour of Britain 2009 stage 1 photo gallery by Andy Jones>>
Australian Chris Sutton (Garmin-Slipstream) won the opening stage of the Tour of Britain in York on Saturday afternoon thanks to a perfect lead out from team-mate and room-mate Bradley Wiggins.
24 year-old Sutton is Shane Sutton’s nephew and showed the same sprinting skills as the British Cycling coach and Team Sky manager.
Britain’s Ben Swift (Katusha) was first to hit out in the sprint but Sutton matched him and then beat him in the high-speed dash to the line.
Italy’s Michele Merlo (Barloworld) was second after an excellent lead out from British team mates Steve Cummings and Geraint Thomas. Swift finished third and Russell Downing (Candi-TV) was fourth.
Thanks to winning the stage, Sutton is also the first race leader and thanks to time bonuses leads Merlo by four seconds. Swift is third at six seconds. Denmark’s Martin Mortensen (Vacansoleil) is fourth after picking up six bonus seconds while in the only break of the stage with Thomas De Grendt (Vlaanderen).
Sutton continued a successful winning steak for Garmin. They have won three races in the last 24 hours, with Ryder Hesjedal winning at the Vuelta on Friday and David Zabriskie winning the time trial stage at the Tour of Missouri a few hours later.
“We’re on a hot streak at the moment. We’ve had a lot of second places this year. But recently we broke our bad luck and started winning. It’s unbelievable, we’re on a roll,” Sutton said.
“The finish was a bit dangerous but I had Bradley with me. We just waited and waited and then with about 1.5km to go we went up the outside and Brad dropped me off in about fifth wheel.”
“I just sat there and he just smashed it until about 900m to go. I was fourth wheel and felt really good. I was just picking my nose basically and then just felt I had to pen up the sprint with 300m to go. I went against the barriers and nobody came round me.”
Sunday’s 95 mile second stage is from Darlington to Newcastle Gateshead. The stage includes thee category three climbs early on but is expected to end in a sprint and set-up a re-match for the many sprinters in the 100-rider Tour of Britain field.
Tour of Britain 2009: Stage one, Scunthorpe-York, 172.6km
1. Chris Sutton (Aus) Garmin-Slipstream
2. Michel Merlo (Ita) Barloworld
3. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha
Overall classification after stage one
1. Chris Sutton (Aus) Garmin-Slipstream
2. Michel Merlo (Ita) Barloworld at 4sec
3. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha at 6sec
All smiles: Chris Sutton takes the race lead
Tour of Britain 2009: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Can a British rider win the Tour of Britain?
British pros head home to fight for Worlds places
Halfords hit the Tour of Britain
Rapha-Condor names Tour of Britain squad
Cavendish to miss Tour of Britain
Katusha and Rabobank announce Tour of Britain teams
Tour of Britain and Tour Series on ITV4
Tour of Britain 2009 route unveiled
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