Britain’s Got Talent: Peter Kennaugh looks to grow with Sky
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Britain’s Got Talent: Peter Kennaugh looks to grow with Sky

by Nick Mulder at 2:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Peter Kennaugh is set to make his debut in the professional ranks when he joins Britain’s new Team Sky next year. The young Manxman is part of Team Sky’s principal David Brailford’s plan to deliver a British Tour de France champion within the next five years.

Kennaugh encompasses all the characteristics necessary to be a successful Grand Tour rider; he can distance his rivals on the longer climbs and excel in races against the clock. At 20 years young he has plenty of room for growth, and Team Sky will look to build on several impressive finishes he had this past year. His 2009 highlights include a third place at the ‘Baby’ Giro d’Italia and a fourth place at the World Under-23 Championships Road Race.

In 2010 Kennaugh will get to try his hand at Grand Tour racing, and currently listed on Team Sky’s preliminary Vuelta a Espana selection. Although Kennaugh dreams of winning the Tour de France, he is keeping his options open but admits his qualities clearly suit stage racing.

"I think becoming a GC rider is the way I am heading because I enjoy it so much in the mountains and feel pretty comfortable on the big climbs," said Kennaugh to The Telegraph.

"But I'm keeping my options open to a certain extent and the Sky management have come up with a great varied programme this year to stretch me in different directions to see exactly what I am made of.

"Basically though, I've always loved races as long and as tough as possible. And hot – I always go well which is strange for a lad from the Isle of Man.

"I'm very ambitious but this is my first year as a pro and I know how tough it will be.”

Kennaugh understands that success in the professional ranks won’t come easy having spent the past eight years training with and racing against fellow Manxman Mark Cavendish.

"People see Cav hitting the turbo and sprinting to win all his big stages, but they have got no idea of the suffering a sprinter like him has gone through that day, and particularly during the last hour just to get to the final two or three kilometres in contention. Often Cav has already ridden an incredible race just to be in contention.

"Once he is there the racing instinct and machine clicks into gear and he can sprint no matter what his fatigue levels. The one thing I have learned for sure is there is no gain without pain in this sport."

Kennaugh has applied that same dedication and persistence the past two years in the Under-23 ranks, living and breathing cycling at the British Cycling Academy, where he often spent months at a time based out of Quarrata, Italy in the Tuscan foothills. Kennaugh attributes a lot of his success to the Academy where he stayed with some of Britain’s other top talents.

"If I'm absolutely honest I've coped with the cycling at the Academy pretty well," says Kennaugh, "but living in a crowded house full of competitive sportsmen who want the same thing is a 24/7 challenge.

"It can be very intense and you have to get yourself very organized which isn't, or wasn't, me at all really. The whole point I suppose is that it's brilliant training for the realities of becoming a professional cyclist. It's not all about the bike is it?

"You have to get used to repetitive training, boredom, the absolute need to rest and sleep after training and not swanning about wasting energy, feeding yourself correctly. It can be a bit monk-like and you all get moments when you want to break out, but gradually you adapt. And yet it is a great environment to get the work done.

"I've just moved into my own place down the road now I've left the Academy. Geraint Thomas and Ben Swift have got a pad in the town square, Steve Cummings just off, Cav's got his house just a few minutes away.

"One of the big lessons I've learned through bitter experience is not to overtrain. You learn to train easy, there's no mileage whatsoever in producing all of your best efforts in training and arriving at a race tired or injured. You have to leave something in the tank.

"You have got to be fit but there's no need to go smashing yourself to bits every day in training. The temptation is there. You are in 'permanent' camp surrounded by world class rides and the weather is mainly great and the temptation is to push yourself to the limit all the time. But you have to rein yourself in."

For 2010 Kennaugh joins fellow Britons at Team Sky including Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, Steve Cummings, Russell Downing and Ian Stannard.


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