A MINUTE WITH: PETER KENNAUGH
National junior road race champion Peter Kennaugh, 18, looks set to follow Mark Cavendish as the next big thing to come out of the Isle of Man
How high up the achievement list does winning the Junior Road Race Championship rank?
I have won four national series but I’d never won the national championship. I would rate this above anything I’ve won on the track. I was confident I had a chance, but leading up to it I was under stress.
When did you take up cycling?
It was probably from birth! I went to see a Madison championship when I was four days old. I then started BMX when I was six and went to mountain biking because the mountain bike scene was big on the Isle of Man. That’s when I wanted to do road racing. I used to ride home and have a big sprint on the way back. I raced in the Scottish Provident League from the age of nine to 15. It has all stemmed from there.
What was your first major race?
It was a race in Holland and that’s when I started to realise I was doing well. I was 15 and then, that winter, me and my dad decided I would train properly and that’s when I started taking it seriously. It all sort of came together. Then I won a couple of British races and got selected for the Youth Olympics. That was in July 2005 in Italy. That was a real experience. My best position was 25th in the time trial.
What has the success of Mark Cavendish meant for cycling on the Isle of Man?
It’s only been recently that Cav has turned professional and, when he comes back to the island, everyone knows him. He has just lifted my morale. When I ride with him, he is just going around easily and I’m in zone four or something! For the Isle of Man just to be in the medals at the Commonwealth Games, because that’s the only big competition we compete in as an island, has opened everything up.
Who are your cycling heroes?
I would say Lance Armstrong for the way he attacks things, but he would only do two or three races a year before the Tour. I’ve been speaking to Hugh Porter about the old days and he said they used to race all season. Then you look at what has happened at the Tour de France with people taking things and it makes you wonder how some of the top guys do what they do.
What are your ambitions?
My ultimate dream is to get a professional jersey on my back with a professional team. With British Cycling, the main aim is to have an Olympic gold medal but, for me, it’s about turning pro. You see people like Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish and how they have progressed through the ranks. Watching them doing it makes it all seem possible.
Do you listen to any music?
I’m really into my dance music. It’s the first thing I put on first thing in the morning.
When you have a chance to throw your diet sheet away for a day, what do you enjoy eating?
When the chance to eat well comes, I love food and I’m always eating cereal. I do like pizza so, if I need a good munch, it’s got to be a pizza — a 14-inch one!
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