News – Kennaugh winning in Austria

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British champion Peter Kennaugh won stage 1 in the Tour of Austria, his first victory in the British champion’s jersey

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News – Kennaugh winning in Austria

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The British champion from Sky dominated the first stage ahead of the Swiss Oliver Zaugg, a winner of the Tour of Lombardy. In front of a huge crowd, the 66th Int. Tour of Austria got under way with a stage from Tulln to Sonntagberg over 182km.

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Just before the first mid race sprint in Castle Grafenegg, five riders broke away: Martin Weiss (Team Tyrol), Maxim Belkov (Trek), Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp), Andreas Hofer (Team Vorarlberg) and Dennis Vanendert (Lotto Belisol). At the Cat 2 mountain sprint at Jauerling, the front group was 5:10 ahead of the peloton. At the last climb, approx 25km before the finish, the two Austrians in the group were not able to hold the pace and then 14km before the finish, the peloton was together again.

On the 3km long and 14% final climb to the Church at Sonntagberg, where thousands of cycling fans were waiting, Pete Kennaugh (Team Sky), annoyed at not being in the Tour de France the week before after winning the British title, took his chance and attacked 1.5km before the finish line.

Kennaugh opened up a gap of 11 seconds to the finish ahead of the Swiss Tinkoff Saxo rider Zaugg. Third was Movistars Javier Moreno. “That were very very long last metres for me” Kennaugh said afterwards. “Last week at the British National Championships, I had also good legs and I could prove that today! I am in Austria to win stages, so I’m very happy it worked out right on the first day”, said the 25-years old leader of the Tour of Austria.

“I felt good and all the team really committed,” Kennaugh told TeamSky.com after the race. “Josh (Edmondson) rode great on the penultimate climb – that’s where we really set the tempo. Ian Boswell and Christian Knees were awesome as well. I was just happy I could finish it off. It’s a good start and it makes up for a bit of disappointment for missing out on the Tour (de France)”.

“I had good legs at the nationals and I didn’t do much during the week. I just took it easy and spent time with my family so I wasn’t sure how my legs would be. I knew I couldn’t lose too much in a week. Today we only had relatively short climbs which I know I’m pretty good at but I know it could be different once we get onto the longer climbs in the mountains”.

“Hopefully I’ll defend the jersey as best I can. There’s a 24km time trial to come so I’ll try to follow, save energy and see how my legs are on the mountains. If they carry on like they felt today it would be nice to podium or possibly win it.”

 

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