SYDNEY: Current British road race champion and Olympic gold medallist Peter Kennaugh won the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Australia on Sunday, as fellow countryman Mark Cavendish pulled out before the finish.
Kennaugh (Team Sky) won the second edition of the 174-kilometre (108-mile) race in Geelong, Victoria, in four hours, four minutes and 59 seconds, six seconds ahead of local sprinter Leigh Howard (IAM Cycling) and Italian Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo).
Australian Simon Gerrans (ORICA-GreenEDGE), who claimed a record fourth Tour Down Under in Adelaide last weekend, finished fifth.
Britain sprint great Cavendish (Team Dimension Data), the winner of 26 Tour de France stages, and Australia’s Caleb Ewan (ORICA-GreenEDGE) did not complete the race.
Kennaugh, who won gold at the London Olympics in the team pursuit, made his move with 10 kilometers to go, and was able to keep ahead of the chasing pack.
“They (Team Sky) were telling me to stay calm. I went up the road just over a lap to go and they said it wouldn’t work,” the 26-year-old told broadcaster Channel Seven on his solo victory.
“But they told me just to hit it, kind of what Richie Porte did on Willunga (in the Tour Down Under). Just commit.
“I know a lot of things about power all the time and I’m not one who likes numbers and that kind of stuff.
“But I’ve been doing a lot of work on that stuff and tried to pace myself to the finish. I had the legs. I felt terrible for the first half of the race and then obviously came around.” Australia’s Cadel Evans, whom the race is named after, hailed Kennaugh’s win and described the race as fantastic.
“The guys raced hard. As we saw, chopping and changing, back and forth, I expect more from the expected favourites so to speak,” he told Channel Seven.
“But Peter Kennaugh, often riding in the services of others, got a great win. He stayed on after the race last year and trained away. It’s good to see him get repaid for that.”
Australian Amanda Spratt (ORICA-AIS) won the women’s race on Saturday with a time of two hours, 58 minutes and 45 seconds.