Giro d’Italia: Peter Kennaugh getting stronger every day
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Giro d’Italia: Peter Kennaugh getting stronger every day

by Bjorn Haake at 6:47 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
British youngster climbing close to the best as he nears his first compete Grand Tour

peter kennaughPeter Kennaugh (Team Sky) seems to be getting stronger as the Giro d’Italia comes to a close. While he didn’t finish anywhere close to the race leaders at the end of the tough, rain soaked nineteenth stage between Bergamo and Macagnuna, the 21-year-old from the Isle of Man finished way ahead of most of the peloton, at the back of a group of nine riders just 15’53” back.

While he finished more than ten minutes ahead of the gruppetto, it could have been even better for Kennaugh, had misfortune not struck less than 40km from the line.

“I got caught behind that crash [which saw HTC-Highroad riders Craig Lewis and Marco Pinotti hospitalised], just before the climb started, and then chased back on full on,” he explained to VeloNation shortly after crossing the finish line. “I didn’t just sit up at the bottom of the climb, I just kept my rhythm and just gave it everything to get to the finish as quick as possible and get the stage done really.”

Having put in so much effort to get back to the peloton, there was no way that Kennaugh would be able to hang on to the race leaders once the attacks started. This was partly down to today’s stage, but also down to the pace that the recent stages have been ridden.

“They were flying today,” he said. “There’s been some crazy stages; yesterday, taking two hours for the break to go, and then today, which was unbelievable in that rain.”

“I hate the rain,” he laughed, “I must be getting used to the Tuscan lifestyle.”

Where many of the riders, who are out of contention for any prizes, are sitting up and riding to the finish in the gruppetto, Kennaugh seems to be getting stronger. He rode last year’s Vuelta a España, until the Sky team withdrew after the death of soigneur Txema González; this weekend though, could see him finish his first ever Grand Tour; and he’s finishing it well.

“I think my legs are getting stronger, yeah,” he confirmed. “Fatigue is starting to set in now; these last two days I’ve really started to feel wrecked; everything’s become an effort. Up until now I’ve felt okay, but everything’s caught up with me the last few days, but it’s my first Grand Tour; it’s the first time I’ve ever spent this long on a bike.”

As a 21-year-old Kennaugh still has years to develop as a rider; these last three weeks though, should stand him in good stead as his power builds up to match his experience.

“I do feel that the strength is building up in my legs,” he said, “so hopefully it’ll do me good for the rest of the season and maybe next year; I’ll see if I can maybe get some results.”

After today’s stage, Kennaugh sits in 79th place, 2hrs 14’11” behind Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard). He also sits in 16th place in the young rider classification; while he is more than two hours down on white jersey holder Roman Kreuziger (Astana), he is considerably younger than all but two of the rest of the riders.

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