Kennaugh was the third rider back to the Bora-Hansgrohe van after teammate Peter Sagan won the 128.2km fourth stage to assume the ochre jersey today.
The 28-year-old put an ice vest on as he arrived at Uraidla in searing heat that caused exhaustion and disorientation in the bunch.
“I don’t know what everyone else does over Christmas but I like to enjoy some family time and relax. I always come here with a bit of work to do, and maybe more so this year,” Kennaugh said post-race.
“But usually I come out of this race quite good and then feel good for the Cadel Evans race, so try and do something there. Jay [McCarthy] has got good form there as well so it will hopefully be me or him, and then we have Sam [Bennett] for a sprint. I’m looking forward to that.”
Kennaugh, who won Evans’ eponymous race in 2016, described his arrival at Bora-Hansgrohe as “relaxed”, laughing at Sagan as the Slovak passed wearing sunglasses as well as motocross goggles, presumably part of a sponsorship arrangement, on his head.
“I’m so much happier here. I think because it’s serious when it needs to be but just generally more relaxed… Last night, for instance, we went out for food and had a good meal, not just sitting in the hotel every day. You know how it is, it gets quite mundane when you’ve been there since the fourth,” he said.
Sagan may be in the race lead but Bora-Hansgrohe maintain they are backing McCarthy for the overall, which defending champion Richie Porte will look to secure on the queen stage tomorrow.
Porte has reigned on Willunga Hill for four consecutive years, with none able to match his trademark attack about 2km out from the finish.
Kennaugh, like everyone else on Friday, had no immediate answer to it either.
“Try and follow him I guess, but that’s not up to me! I couldn’t follow him, not a chance. Have a rope and just hang on,” he joked.
“It doesn’t change much, how we’ll ride, because we were going to go for GC with Jay, so if Peter can get over as well then ever better.
“BMC haven’t really got involved so far in this race so maybe they should try and control things as well tomorrow.
“I’ll do what I can, making sure everyone has bottles all day and riding if I need to, but so far it’s been great fun being here with a different team.”
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1