Peter Kennaugh claimed a stunning victory to clinch the British National Road Race Championship on Sunday afternoon in Wales.
The 25-year-old Manxman delivered a superb late burst to the line to pip Sky team-mate and sprint specialist Ben Swift, thus claiming the honour of wearing the iconic red, white and blue striped jersey of British national champion for the next 12 months.
The elite men’s road race took place over a 186-kilometre route including a 10-lap finishing circuit around Monmouthshire in south east Wales and, as well as Kennaugh and Onchan-resident Swift, also taking part was Team Raleigh’s Mark Christian.
Unfortunately Mark Cavendish was unable to defend the title he won in Glasgow last year after he pulled out having been ill with bronchitis recently, while Joe Kelly riding for ILLI-Bikes Cycling Team did not take to the startline. The latter’s brother Joe did take part though, riding for KTM road-and-trail.com
The peloton stayed together for much of the early throes of the race until a lead group was established after 60km, and it was no surprise to see Team Sky heavily represented. Joining Kennaugh and Swift were team-mates Luke Rowe and Josh Edmundson, OricaGreenEDGE duo Simon and Adam Yates, Madison Genesis’ Scott Davies and Manxman Christian.
As the Team Sky quartet attacked relentlessly, first Davies was dropped before Christian and eventually Adam Yates followed suit.
Simon Yates held on valiantly but he was eventually dropped while Edmondson and Rowe also faded, leaving Kennaugh and Swift to battle it out for the honours.
Knowing Swift would likely have the edge in any sprint, Pete continuously attempted to break away from his team-mate and go solo, but every time Swift held on.
However, just went it looked like Swift would seal the win, Kennaugh timed his sprint to perfection, taking the inside line and launching past his friend in the closing metres to clinch a dramatic and pulsating win.
More in this week’s Isle of Man Examiner, in shops Tuesday morning.