It glows in the sunshine and looks unique, lined up with the other Sky Vuelta a Espanã bikes in Logrono. The white Pinarello frame has blue decals on one side, red decals on the other and Peter Kennaugh’s name on the top tube, and it does look special.
Alas, the special look is essentially all that there is that’s individual about the Manxman’s bike, to mark his title as the British national road race champion, as Team Sky mechanic Gary Blem explained: “Yes, the only thing that’s really different about it is the fact that it’s got a different paint scheme to the others.” This was shaping up to be a short story…
“Actually, it’s now slightly heavier than the other frames, because the paint and the lacquer on it make it a few grams heavier,” he continued.
“Once he’s happy with his set-up at the start of the season, he never really changes anything.”
But it was down to Kennaugh himself that the bike saw the light of day after he won the British National Road Race Championships in June. Kennaugh had ideas for a matching bike and champion’s jersey combo.
“As soon as I won the title [in June] I was on the phone to Carsten [Jeppesen, Team Sky’s head of technical operations] to say that I had an idea for a design, I was straight on his case!” Kennaugh said.
With Vincenzo Nibali’s terrible Italian champion’s jersey design copping justified flak at the Tour de France, and Peter Sagan and Jesus Herrada’s Slovak and Spanish road champions’ jerseys being an affront to good taste, Kennaugh’s British jersey was splendidly traditional.
“Yeah, a lot of people have been coming up to me in the bunch and telling me it’s the nicest jersey in the peloton, so Rapha deserve thanks for doing such a good job of it,” he said.
And, of course, the jersey matches Kennaugh’s bike. Was there a chance we might see a limited-edition signature Pete Kennaugh model Pinarello?
“Ha, I dunno, I’ll have to speak to Carsten about that,” laughed Kennaugh, before reflecting, “mind you, that would mean that other people could ride ‘my’ bike and I wouldn’t be the only one who had one!”
Although the bike being raced in Spain was designed to Kennaugh’s specification, it wasn’t quite complete. The Fizik saddle was still disappointingly plain black. “We’re getting a new design, but Italy was shut,” deadpanned Blem.
And when Italy opens again, Fizik will produce a Kennaugh-designed saddle to go with the bike.
“It won’t be an over-the-top Union Jack thing,” insisted Kennaugh, “there’ll be a bit of red on one side, one ‘wing’, some blue on the other and white in the middle.”
A lot of guys have done the whole Union Jack thing all over the bike and I just think it looks kind of tacky, with helmets with big Union Jacks plastered on them.
“I set out to do something simple and subtle, and I think it works.”
There’s no argument from us.
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