Manxman heads to hilly one-day races rather than the Gold Coast

Peter Kennaugh will focus on the Ardennes Classics in the spring, heading to Belgium and the Netherlands rather than representing the Isle of Man in the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The 28-year-old was not named in the island’s eight-strong road cycling team, which will be headed up by Mark Cavendish, when it was announced last week, and has said that he will now focus on the hilly one-day races in April.

“Unfortunately I won’t be able to compete at the Commonwealth Games as they clash with the Ardennes Classics which are races I am targeting this season,” Kennaugh said, as reported by BBC Sport.

“I wish all my team-mates the best of luck and I’m sure they will bring home some medals.”

Kennaugh, who would have had to be released by his new Bora-Hansgrohe team in order to compete in the Games, won the island’s only medal at the 2014 Games in Glasgow when he won silver in the points race behind New Zealand’s Tom Scully.

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The Manxman will start his season at the Tour Down Under, which starts in Adelaide on January 16, before continuing to race in Australia at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Kennaugh is then set to race the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice ahead of the Ardennes Classics, where he could ride alongside new team-mate Peter Sagan at the Amstel Gold Race.

Riding for Team Sky until this season, Kennaugh has ridden all three of the Ardennes Classics in the past, La Flèche Wallonne twice and the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège one, but is yet to finish any of the races.

“We fully understand Pete’s position,” said Trevor Taubman, Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association team manager

“The start of the professional cycling calendar coincides with the Games in Australia so these clashes are inevitable. We fully support Peter and wish him every success.”