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"The four of us worked pretty well together - especially given that I knew both Mathew and Dario from their time with us - and we had a bit of fun in the intermediate sprints."

Photo: Sirotti

PETER KENNAUGH

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TEAM SKY

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TOUR DOWN UNDER

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18.01.2015 @ 13:02 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Chris Sutton claimed fourth place at the People’s Choice Classic as Team Sky put in a strong group performance.

 

The 30-lap showpiece season-opener got the 2015 campaign up and running, with Team Sky taking an active role in the fast-paced criterium, which was won by Marcel Kittel.

 

The Giant-Alpecin rider looked under pressure coming into the finishing straight but dug deep to carve out the victory ahead of Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) and Wouter Wippert (Drapac).

 

Sutton finished well for fourth in a blanket finish, after Luke Rowe helped to pilot the Australian in the final laps of the 1.7-kilometre circuit.

Team Sky looked to take on the race as they hone their form ahead of Tuesday’s Tour Down Under start. Richie Porte and Rowe were active from the gun, with little time to waste in the short 51km test.

 

 

On lap nine the race evolved and a breakaway formed. Pete Kennaugh jumped across to a move containing two former team-mates in Dario Cataldo (Astana) and Mathew Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge). Calvin Watson (Trek Factory Racing) made it a quartet as the gap spun out to over 20 seconds.

 

Unsurprisingly it was the team of Giant-Alpecin who arrived at the front to patrol the pace on behalf of Kittel.

 

Kennaugh claimed the fourth and final sprint prime but with seven laps to go the break came to an end. With five to go Geraint Thomas chipped off the front and shortly after the team grouped at the head of the peloton to push the pace.

 

In the end there was no stopping Kittel, who took his second consecutive victory in the Adelaide event.

 

 

"It was good to have a hit out, even if I didn’t really mean to do it," Kennaugh told TeamSky.com after the race. "Personally, I wasn’t really looking forward to this crit given the crashes we had last year, and I sat at the back for the first couple of laps when nothing was really going. But I could sense something was going to go soon so I slowly moved up and did one attack, and that was when the break went. The four of us worked pretty well together - especially given that I knew both Mathew and Dario from their time with us - and we had a bit of fun in the intermediate sprints.

 

"This was a great way to kick off the season for us as a team. G had a little dig later on and CJ got amongst in the sprint so it was a positive and aggressive start. I’m loving down here in Australia – I’ve been here for two weeks now. It’s been a nice and relaxed way to get into the season with the training camp we’ve had here and now we’re all ready to race."

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