Laura Trott and Peter Kennaugh are likeable British road race champions
A quick diversion to report on the British national road race championships and then I’ll hit you (not literally) with a bunch of Tour de France preview stuff over the rest of the week.
I already told you that Bradley Wiggins won the men’s time trial. Emma Pooley won the women’s. Normally people take a year out from their education to do something else. Pooley took a year out from cycling to complete her Phd in geotechnical engineering. This was her third win in the British time trial.
Laura Trott won the women’s road race – not bad for someone who’s primarily a track cyclist and even better when you look at the quality of the field. Olympic silver medallist, Lizzie Armitstead, spent quite a lot of the race trying to smash everyone to pieces on her own and nearly managed it, but a small group of riders made it back up to her and Trott – who seemed to ride quite sensibly and conservatively from what I saw – won the sprint.
I’ve described Trott as being pleasantly unhinged before now and little seems to have changed. After the race, she said that training had been going badly and that morale has been ‘through the floor’ but it’s impossible to believe when she only ever seems a heartbeat away from maniacal laughter.
Peter Kennaugh won the men’s road race, edging out his Sky team-mate, Ben Swift, in a two-man sprint after everyone else had fallen by the wayside. Ordinarily, Kennaugh would expect to win a sprint against Swift no times out of ten, but he’d spent most of the last 15km attacking him and had therefore eroded the effects of nominative determinism.
Kennaugh’s another likeable rider. Immediately after Chris Froome won the Tour last year, ITV4 stopped the Sky team on the Champs Elysées for a quick word. Amid all the spectacular pomposity, Kennaugh leaned across and, in a tone of boyish excitement, asked Gary Imlach:
“Are you still doing that thing after the ad breaks? ‘For your chance to win a dead flash bike…'”
ITV4 were indeed still offering the chance to win a dead flash bike after ad breaks. But it wasn’t just funny, it also revealed Kennaugh to be a cycling fan, just like you or me.
That came across again when he was interviewed after his British road race win. There were no cool platitudes. Like Trott, he just seemed genuinely delighted to have won. I’m gutted that he isn’t appearing in this year’s Tour de France, even if he would simply have been merely a first-class wagon in the Team Sky mountain train. It seems Kennaugh’s not best pleased about the decision to omit him either.
“Their reasoning is that I’m not consistent enough. I disagree.”