Peter Kennaugh Interview: “I’m just looking forward to getting out on the road again”
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Friday, January 11, 2013

Peter Kennaugh Interview: “I’m just looking forward to getting out on the road again”

by Ben Atkins at 10:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track, Olympics
Team Sky’s remaining Manxman putting the Olympics behind him as he looks ahead to 2013

peter kennaughPeter Kennaugh (Team Sky) is getting ready for his fourth season in the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour, and is hoping for more success on the road in 2013. The 23-year-old from the Isle of Man was part of Great Britain’s World and Olympic gold winning Pursuit team in 2012, but this is not where the Manxman’s hear truly lies.

As he explained to VeloNation at the recent Revolutio 39 event at the Manchester Velodrome, Kennaugh is looking forward to resuming his road career, after virtually takinga year off for the track.

“Yeah, it was all right,” he smiled, when asked about his 2012 season overall. “I had a lot of injuries, which was quite hard, but I did what I wanted to do at the end of the day, so you can’t really grumble. I’m feeling ready to go for the road this year.”

The Great Britain Pursuit team that Kennaugh was a part of was an all-conquering one in 2012, but success in the World championships, in Melbourne, Australia, in April - where it broke the World record ahead of the host nation - made some think that maybe the team had peaked too soon with the Olympics on the horizon.

Kennaugh disagrees, however, with the team itself working towards a definite plan.

“With the preparation we had for the Worlds, we knew that there was so much more to come,” he explained. “It’s always the case for us that, the Australians have their summer when we’re in our winter, so they’re always flying in February. I think for the British team it’s really worthwhile, because we always get better and better as the year goes on, because we spend Christmas chilling out, and not racing around crits; doing stuff like that.

“As a team, we really wanted to win the Worlds,” Kennaugh added. “But if we didn’t win, we still knew that we had so much more to come for the Games, so it was all good.”

2012 was a big year for British sport as a whole, and cycling in particular, but Olympic gold on the track - while being a definite highlight of his career to date - definitely seemed to interrupt the 23-year-old’s chosen career path.

With Olympic glory comes national recognition

“Yeah, it was all right,” he said about the London 2012 experience. “I’m over it, ready to move on.

“I’m just looking forward to getting out on the road again, and getting back to what I know,” he continued. “It’s great the way people react about it, but you’ve done bigger things in your career, and maybe harder things to achieve, but you get no recognition from it. Then you win a gold medal and get an MBE.

“That’s how it is I suppose,” he added with a smile.

Despite the Olympic fever that hit the country, however, Kennaugh feels that the Olympic gold achieved by teammate Bradley Wiggins in the time trial was not the most-recognised victory of the Londoner’s year.

“I don’t know, I think he got more attention for the Tour,” Kennaugh said. “I think he was received really well over here, and the gold medal was seen as just topping it off really, for the country.”

With Olympic glory has come recognition in the form of awards in the Queen’s New Year Honours; Wiggins and team principle Dave Brailsford both received Knighthoods, while most of the rest of Great Britain’s gold medallists received other awards.

“The MBE?” he said before a long pause. “I don’t know really. I’m not sure when I’m going to pick it up. Obviously it’s like an honour, and stuff, and an achievement... I am proud to receive it, but I’m more proud to be congratulated by my family to be honest.

“Maybe I’m just on a real pessimistic night tonight!” he laughed. “Or I’m tired or something, but it’s sort of how I feel.”

Back on the road but missing Mark Cavendish

With the Olympic Games now out of the way, Kennaugh and the rest of the Team Sky riders that rode on the track in London, will return to their day jobs as road riders. For the 23-year-old this is something he is very much looking forward to, after a 2012 spent mostly on the injury list, or in the velodrome.

“Like I said before, I’m just looking forward to getting back involved in the team really,” he explained. “I only had something like 20 race days last year, so I almost felt like I wasn’t part of Team Sky. Even though they had such an amazing year, I wasn’t really there to be part of the success.

“I really enjoyed riding with Cav [2011 World champion Mark Cavendish - ed] this year,” Kennaugh continued. “That was awesome to be part of the team with him; he really gets the best out of me, and he’s a good mate. So we were doing really well as a team and also having a laugh at the same time, which is really important to me.

“But yeah, just get cracking again this year. Just get on the road, try and progress, and get some results for myself on the road.”

With no track on his programme this year, Kennaugh’s calendar should look a lot more like that of 2011, where his year was dominated by a promising Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia.

“I’m doing the Giro again this year, so that’s my main focus early on,” he said. “I’ll start with Oman, and then Tirreno, Catalunya, and the Ardennes Classics that I’d really like to have good form for. Then, yeah, ten days later you’ve got the Giro, so it comes thick and fast really.”

The 2012 Giro, which Kennaugh withdrew from on the tough 17th stage across the Dolomites to Cortina d’Ampezzo saw him working for Cavendish, as part of the then World champion’s sprint train. The Manx Missile will not be on Team Sky this year, however, after his sprint ambitions failed to fit those of the team in last year’s Tour de France, which is something that Kennaugh regrets.

“I already sort of miss him, at the training camp in Mallorca,” he said about his fellow Manxman. “He’s such a big character, and such a personality, it’s so different without him. He always lightens the mood up a bit, he always rips people and takes the piss, so I do miss having him around, a lot.”

No Cavendish at the Giro, however, will mean an completely different race for Kennaugh, who will be able to put his more natural talents to work in the service of Wiggins’ bud for overall glory. This means a complete change to the style of training that he followed in 2012, but is something he is very much looking forward to.

“I’ve never been a massive lead out, or sprinter type, but it’s always something I’ve been able to do,” Kennaugh explained. “My forte’s always been in the climbs… it almost feels strange going back to that, because obviously I spent last year really working on my power on the flat, which was why I was there for Cav. It’s strange getting back into that sort of climbers mindset, always watching what you eat, and all that side of things.

“It’ll be a tough change,” he smiled, "but it’ll be a good one."


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