After toughing out three savage days in the Dolomites, including a near eight hour marathon to Gardeccia, Britain’s Peter Kennaugh is now full of confidence that he’ll be finishing the Giro d’Italia on Sunday.
“There’s just five day’s left now,” he cheerfully noted after yesterday’s mountain time trial in Nevegal. “After that stage the other day, a lot of us feel like we can tackle anything!”
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Last year Kennaugh started the Vuelta a Espana before the sudden death of a team helper saw all of Team Sky withdraw early in the race. Assuming all goes well over the next few days, the Giro will thus be the first Grand Tour the 21 year old will have completed.
As such, the past two and a half weeks have been something of a learning experience for him.
“Subconsciously you pick things up,” he explained. “You’ve got to be super organised so you can save energy. I’ve learnt how to ride in the wheels a lot better and when to use my energy. I’m taking care of myself a lot better in the peloton.
Physically, he added: “I feel like I’m getting better as the race goes on. I seem to be recovering really well and riding quite consistently.”
Riding a Grand Tour for the first time has also thrown up some surprises for Kennaugh
“You see these guys who come out of Grand Tours and you think they all look really skinny, but I haven’t lost weight at all,” he noted. “I’ve actually put on a kilo during the course of the race.
“I came here at 63kg but I’ve been at 64kg for the whole race. Apparently your body retains fluid to cope with everything. I feel myself leaning up and getting more defined – but you don’t actually lose any weight.”
Although essentially at the Giro for experience and strength building, his performance has been promising.
Far from spending every tough mountain day in the laughing group, he’s been finishing midway down the field.
Consequently, Kennaugh currently lies in 70th place overall; the filling in a Team Sky sandwich between Michael Barry and Morris Possoni.
As an amateur, Kennaugh also showed his talent in the ‘Baby Giro’. Without wanting to get ahead of ourselves, could Grand Tour riding perhaps be where his future lies?
“I think you’ve got to build up a lot of experience and strength in depth before you can start to target these for GC places,” he acknowledged. “Maybe Grand Tours will be something I’d like to target in the future. But until then, it’ll be about stages and stuff.”
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Giro 2011: Who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2011: Stage reports
Giro d’Italia 2011: Photo galleries
Stage 16 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 15 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Giro d’Italia 2011: Live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2011: Start list
Giro d’Italia 2011: TV schedule