Pete Kennaugh opens up about early-season struggles as he aims for Tour de France spot

Bora-Hansgrohe Brit opens up ahead of his return to racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné

Peter Kennaugh at the 2018 Tour Down Under (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Peter Kennaugh has said his absence from racing earlier this year was down to a lack of motivation to ride that nearly stopped him training earlier in the season.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider is hoping to kickstart his season at the Critérium du Dauphiné this week, after a stop-start 2018 has hampered his debut season at the team.

Kennaugh started his season in Australia in January at the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

However, an unexplained physical and psychological issue led to his absence until the Tour de Romandie.

“It was nothing specific, I just felt quite down for a couple of weeks and really useless on the bike," Kennaugh said. "I’d head out for an hour and then just turn around. It got to a point where I didn’t want to go out because I felt so rough.

“I don’t know if I overloaded everything with too much travelling and it all just caught up with me. I’m just happy to be back to it now and put that behind me.”

Appearances in Romandie and Eschborn-Frankfurt doubled his racing days for the season to 14. He started the Dauphiné on Sunday, finishing 74th in the opening Prologue and 56th on the first road stage.

“I did a training camp in Tenerife and Romandie so hopefully I’ll be in good condition for the Dauphiné," Kennaugh said before the race.

"One day there was just a click of the fingers and I did four and a half hours out of nowhere and felt like I was back to my old self again. After that it’s just been full gas and doing everything I can to get back to shape again,” he said.

Kennaugh added that regaining top form at the Dauphiné will be crucial in his pursuit of a place on the Bora-Hansgrohe Tour de France squad, which begins on July 7 in Vendée.

“After the last couple of months, I’ve really got to prove myself at the Dauphiné but I’m going into it a lot more confident,” he said.

“Form-wise I don’t know if I’ll be able to be right up there with the best, but hopefully I won’t be too far off.

"I’ll know for definite about the Tour afterwards, but I’d love to be there to help the guys and hopefully go with really good legs.”

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