Peter Kennaugh sprints to glory in Abergavenny
TEAM Sky rider Peter Kennaugh won a dramatic sprint to the line to beat teammate Ben Swift to the National Road Race title in Abergavenny.
The 25-year-old from the Isle of Man was a surprise winner, completing the 186km course around Monmouthshire in 4 hours 25 minutes and 1 second.
There was disappointment for Welsh star Geraint Thomas down in eighth place and fellow Cardiff rider Luke Rowe finished fourth.
But there was success for Wales with 19-year-old Ed Laverack from Llanelli being crowned British under-23 champion in 13th place overall.
Kennaugh, a gold medal winner on the track at London 2012, won his first national road race after finishing third in Abergavenny in 2009, second in 2010 and third again in 2011.
“Without coming third here in 2009 I might not have won it,” said the champion.
“I had a lot of experience of the course and I was willing to throw second place away to win it.
“I sat on Swifty the whole way in and gambled everything on the final sprint.
“It’s almost not a sprinter’s sprint because you’re going downhill and it was like on the track when you use the cadence to overtake.
“I left it late, maybe 150 metres from the finish, and I didn’t think I’d win it but I just grabbed the bars and gave it everything for the line. I’m made up to win it.”
The victory made up for Kennaugh’s disappointment in not being selected to ride for Team Sky in the Tour de France, which gets under way in Leeds on Saturday.
“I’m very disappointed not to make the Tour,” said Kennaugh. “There are a lot of strong guys on this team and you constantly have to prove yourself.
“Their reasoning is that I’m not consistent enough but I disagree.”
Rapha Condor JLT starlet Laverack couldn’t hide his delight at being crowned under-23 champ.
“I can’t really put it into words. It means everything,” he said.
“It was pretty relaxed most of the way and then all of a sudden it went from 150 of us to 15 and it was really hard work on the circuits of the town centre.
“I was suffering in the last few laps but I knew I just had to hold on.”
Laverack’s success made it a good championships for Welsh youngsters ahead if next month’s Commonwealth Games with Carmarthen’s Scott Davies winning ahead of Cardiff’s Owain Doull in the under-23 time trial at the Celtic Manor.
Laverack added: “It was a one-two for Wales in the time trial so it’s been a good week and I’m just glad to be part of it.”
Earlier in the day in Abergavenny Wiggle Honda star Laura Trott won the women’s National Road Race ahead of teammate Dani King with defending champion Lizzie Armitstead third.