Pre-race favourites Luke Rowe and Peter Kennaugh lived up to their billing to take victory in an exciting National Madison Championships at the Manchester velodrome on Saturday.
Rapha Condor Sharp’s newly-signed duo of Andy Tennant and world omnium champion Ed Clancy looked comfortable in the early stages, cruising to maximum sprint points ahead of the young Team Sky / Team GB pair. But the men in black may have been guilty in forgetting it was a 50km (200 lap) race and not a four-minute pursuit.
Although racing together for the first time, Rowe and Kennaugh have been involved in the last four victories at the Madison nationals and the young pair utilised their arm slinging experience and road legs to great effect in carving out a race winning lap lead in the second half.
Buoyed by the crowd and the audacity of youth, the pair even went for a superfluous second lap in the final stages to emphasise their racing authority.
With victory assured for Kennaugh and Rowe, the only live contest in the closing laps was the battle for second place. Academy rider Tom Moses and Jon Mould (100% ME) were able to build enough points to hold off Team Sky new recruit Alex Dowsett and Tom Murray (Sigma Sport) for silver.
After winning his third national madison title Manxman Kennaugh told CW: “We won that race by having a bit more strength through road racing and secondly through our race tactics. Luke and I have grown up together and we know each other inside out. We read the race really well.”
“They (Rapha) were trying to do everything physically and you need to use your heads in the madison. It was good to get out there and I had great fun racing.”
Rowe outlined the duo’s plans for the next few weeks: “We’re off to Majorca now for ten days, after that a bit of track work and then we’re doing the Tour of Sardinia at the end of February.”