MOVE over Sally Pearson and Anna Meares – he is possibly the most successful Australian at the London Olympic Games, with a hand in eight gold medals and undoubtedly heads the Aussie medal count.
He’s the “Moree magician”, and along with his brother Gary, they are the toast of the North West town.
But Shane Sutton’s medals belong not to Australians, but members of the Great Britain cycling team which dominated the road and track events at the London Games.
The Team GB head coach has an almost magical way of getting the best out of his charges and the seven gold medals as well as one silver and one bronze won by the track cycling team prove he’s a master coach.
For his brother, Gary, the medal haul was not so great, with his Australian women’s team pursuit trio of Annette Edmondson, Melissa Hoskins and Josephine Tomic finishing in fourth place.
He did, however, coach Annette Edmondson to a bronze medal in the women’s Omnium and was the previous coach of Kaarle McCulloch, half of the women’s sprint team which also won bronze.
But for the Sutton brothers, who still call Moree home, the rivalry at either end of the Olympic cycling track is purely business.
Shane Sutton is being dubbed the world’s best cycling coach, after phenomenal success at the track this week, but his achievements don’t end there.
He is the personal coach of Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, who also grabbed gold in the individual Olympic time trial.
While Shane heads the medal count, Gary enjoyed some personal satisfaction, watching Australia’s Anna Meares out-ride British sprint queen Victoria Pendleton in the women’s cycling sprint finals.
Aside from his Australian Olympic coaching role, Gary is the NSW Institute of Sport’s head cycling coach, has been named an Australian national champion 43 times, is a Commonwealth Games champion and world champion and has competed in the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games.
He was also on the BBC’s commentary team for cycling at the Beijing Olympics and has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.
The family affair stetches further. Shane, as the head coach of the British Sky Pro Cycling team, coaches Gary’s son, Christopher, who is a team member.
Shane is now a self-confessed Brit when it comes to cycling and was quoted in UK newspaper The Guardian as saying: “I’ve got red, white and blue in my veins.”
In April, the newspaper wrote: “Team GB’s Australian head coach says that when it comes to cycling ... his job is to stay one step ahead of his counterparts from his native country.”
He has had nothing but success since leaving Australia in 1984 to pursue a racing career in Britain, for which he competed in the Tour de France and became a leading cyclist in the ’80s and ’90s.
After retirement he had a stint at coaching Wales before moving on to the Brits about 10 years ago.
The Queen recognised his contribution to British cycling by awarding him an Order of the British Empire in 2010.
Despite the competitive rivalry between the brothers, sister Julie Woods of Moree said her brothers were very close and totally supported each other.
“Gary is very excited for Shane and he is also very happy with how his team went,” she said.
“All of Gary’s girls performed their personal best times, so he is really pleased.”
She said the brothers gave each other plenty of advice and that Shane always barracked for the Aussies – providing he didn’t have any of his riders in the competition.
“Shane would have liked Gary to get gold, but that’s just part of the sport,” she said.
Mum Doreen said she couldn’t be prouder of her two boys and their achievements.
“It’s been a big thrill for us. Of course, none of us have had any sleep while the Olympics have been on,” Mrs Sutton said.
“They have both phoned me while the Olympics have been on.
“Gary is very proud of his brother. He is also thrilled for his girls who all made personal record times ... but just couldn’t compare to the Brits.”
She said Shane always said he was an Aussie through and through, but when it came to cycling he called himself a Brit.