Isle of Man rider Tim Kennaugh claimed the biggest win of his young career by taking overall victory in the five-stage Junior Tour of Wales over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Alongside several gruelling climbs in the Brecon Beacons, the best of young British talent also had to combat some foul Bank Holiday weather, which saw the riders finishing soaked and mud-splattered on several stages.
After European junior time-trial champion Joe Perrett claimed the first yellow jersey by winning the race’s opening test up the Tumble, Kennaugh took the race firmly by the scruff of the neck in the afternoon’s road stage.
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In bitter conditions atop Llangynidr mountain, he distanced breakaway companions Sam Harrison and Marcus Christie to take a comfortable victory and assume an overall lead he would never relinquish.
First-year junior Harrison finished 38 seconds in arrears. He became the Manx rider’s closest overall challenger, but was unable to reduce the deficit in the next couple of days.
Third-placed overall Joshua Edmondson (Glendene CC) won the stage three criterium and the queen stage atop the mist-enshrouded Tumble. However, he ultimately paid the price overall for losing five minutes to talented climber Kennaugh on the race’s opening road stage.
Kennaugh commented: “I got seventh in the opening time-trial when I was third last year, so I was a bit disappointed. I was really putting pressure on myself, wondering if I was good enough to win.”
He added modestly: “I wasn’t necessarily going strong in the race, I just got in the right move and defended my lead. I don’t win so much, so this is probably my biggest victory.”
With this prestigious win secured, Kennaugh must be one of the favourites to join the U23 Academy team in Italy next year, where he could team up with older brother Pete. At any rate, he’s off to Italy tomorrow – to race the Giro Ciclistico della Lunigiana with the rest of the Great Britain junior team.
1. Tim Kennaugh (Team Isle of Man) 7-44-01
2. Sam Harrison (Wales) at 30secs
3. Joshua Edmondson (Glendene CC-Biketrax) at 1-06
4. Joe Perrett (Glendene CC-Biketrax) at 1-31
5. Perry Bowater (Epic Cycles-Viner RT) at 3-33
6. Marcus Christie (Ireland) at 3-57
7. Jon Mould (Wales) at 4-20
8. Charles Prendergast (Ireland) at 4-49
9. George Atkins (Websters Cycles) at 5-08
10. Dominic Schils (Lotto Olympia Interbike RT) at 5-10