Peter Kennaugh leads Chris Froome home in Sun Tour stage

Kennaugh leads Froome at the top of the general classification by seven seconds
Kennaugh leads Froome at the top of the general classification by seven seconds

Britain's Peter Kennaugh won the opening stage of the Herald Sun Tour in Australia, leading home Chris Froome in a Team Sky one-two.

The pair attacked on the category-one climb to Toolangi and then held off a chasing pack of 29 riders to win by 17 seconds at the finish in Healesville.

The win gave the Isle of Man rider a seven-second advantage over Froome.

It was the 26-year-old's second victory in five days after he won the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Sunday.

The Manx racer and current British champion said: "The race last week gave us quite a bit of confidence going into today.

Peter Kennaugh
Peter Kennaugh won Olympic gold on the track at London 2012 in the team pursuit

"We had a plan for today's stage which worked out absolutely perfectly.

"Massive thanks to the team and especially to Froomey because once I got across to him I pretty much just sat on his wheel the whole way up the climb, then once I got over I was able to do some good turns and take it to the finish with him," Kennaugh said.

Two-time Tour de France champion Froome said he was happy to play the role of "key lieutenant" for team-mate Kennaugh.

"It's a really nice feeling being able to give something back to Peter," he added.

"The number of times he's emptied himself for me out on the road - and he's been part of both my Tour de France victories - so it's nice to be able to do something for him.

"We're going to try and protect that [lead] now."

The five-day event finishes at Arthurs Seat, Victoria on Sunday.