Pete Kennaugh Capodarco

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While celebrations are in full flow in Beijing because of cycling?s medal haul on the track, the riders who are likely to star in the London 2012 Games were also raising a glass after Pete Kennaugh won the GP Capodarco road race in Italy on Saturday.

The one-day is a classic in the amateur calendar but the 19 year-old from the Isle of Man embarrassed riders who are far older than him with a perfect ride on the tough uphill finish.

Kennaugh and the rest of the Academy team based in Quarrata near Florence, celebrated with a rare night out in a local pizzeria, with a the remains of the winner?s bottle of champagne being drunk from bidons.

?It?s the biggest bottle of champagne I?ve ever seen!? Kennaugh proudly told Cycling Weekly before explaining how he won one of the biggest races on the Italian calendar.

?I sprayed a lot of it when I was on the podium but there was still loads left and I?ve filled two 750 bottles and 500 bottle. We went out for a pizza to celebrate because it was such a good win. Capodarco is a huge race in Italy and is held in memory of Fabio Casartelli who won the Olympic road race in Barcelona and who died in the Tour de France.?

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Kennaugh spent much of the spring working for the other riders in the Academy but got his chance to lead the team when Ben Swift and Jonny Bellis were at the Olympics. He won his first ever race in Italy near Rome last weekend and missed the tough Firenze-Viareggio race on Friday to be at his best at the GP Capodarco. He made sure he did not miss a great opportunity.

?I couldn?t believe it when I won. This is my first years on the academy but I?m on form and everything went perfectly in the race,? he told Cycling Weekly.

?I suffered at the start of the season because the racing is so much faster here. I remember spending a lot of time in the gruppetto at the Giro delle Regioni stage race and it wasn?t nice but I?ve slowly improved. I?ve learnt a lot from working and watching Ben Swift.?

?I was part of the 27 rider break that formed on the flat roads with about 80km to go but the gap kept coming down because people were messing around. I attacked and ended up on my own after the climb. At first I didn?t know what to do because Rod was too far away to speak over the radio. I decided to ride steady and then eventually Rod told me there were some other riders coming across.?

?The Aussie Simon Clarke was one of them with a team mate and there was a Russian as well. The other Aussie worked on the flat and then sat up on the final climb to the finish. We did a few turns each and then the Russian got dropped. Clarke really wanted to win but I called his bluff by pretending to be tired. He thought he?d win, took the bait and lead up the climb but then with about 500 metres I went passed him and gapped him. Winning was awesome.?

Kennaugh stood atop the winner?s podium with the late Fabio Casartelli?s young son Marco. His glass winner?s trophy now has pride of place in the bedroom he shares with Ben Swift.

?Me and Ben put our trophies under a montage of photographs in our bedroom in the apartment and now it?s getting pretty full,? Kennaugh said.

After celebrating coach Rod Ellingworth quickly got the lads from the Academy back to work on Monday with more training on the roads near Quarrata. Kennaugh and the other riders selected for the European under-23 track championships in Poland are now doing specific speed work to prepare for the track, while the other riders prepare for the Tour of Britain.


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