Kennaugh went into the Elite Men’s race as defending champion, and he animated the action from just past the half-way point in the 197.6km race. First, he attacked with Sky team-mate Ian Stannard, as the duo were chased by a group containing Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep), Luke Rowe (Sky), Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon 18) and Adam Blythe (Orica-GreenEdge).
It was Cavendish who finally broke the leaders’ advantage, chasing hard with Rowe sat on his wheel as the race navigated laps of Lincoln, including the ascent of the cobbled Michaelgate climb.
After he and Rowe eventually caught Kennaugh and Stannard, Cavendish attacked again – with only fellow Manxman Kennaugh following. As the pair hit the final ascent of Michaelgate, Kennaugh got the better of the sprint specialist take the victory.
Earlier in the day, Armitstead had soloed to victory in the Elite Women’s race, a feat made all the more memorable after she had spent the week recovering from a nasty crash at the end of the opening stage of the Women’s Tour.
Alice Barnes (Superior Brentjens) came home in second place, nearly two minutes adrift of Armitstead, with 2014 champion Laura Trott (Matrix Fitness) in third.
Barnes secured the women’s under-23 title, with Welshman Owain Doull (Wiggins) taking the under-23 men’s jersey.
Kennaugh, Stannard, Rowe and Cavendish will now all travel to the Netherlands for the Grand Depart of the 2015 Tour de France.