Tour de Yorkshire: Pete Kennaugh proud to show off GB champion's jersey

By Peter ScrivenerBBC Radio York reporter
Pete Kennaugh
Kennaugh won the Great Ocean Race in Australia at the start of the year

Pete Kennaugh says he "jumped at the chance" to race in this weekend's Tour de Yorkshire because he can show off his British road race champion's jersey in front of home support.

The Team Sky rider won the national title in 2014 and 2015 - the first man to defend the jersey in a decade.

"It's not often I get a chance to show off the jersey on home roads, so I'll feel proud," he told BBC Radio York.

"I did a race near my home on the Isle of Man recently and it was great."

The three-day race, which is in its second year and a legacy of when Yorkshire hosted the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France, starts on Friday, 29 April with a stage from Beverley to Settle.

Saturday's second stage goes from Otley to Doncaster, with a women's one-day race featuring Britain's world champion Lizzie Armitstead, preceding it.

The third stage takes the 138 riders from Middlesbrough to Scarborough via the North York Moors and six categorised climbs.

"My team-mate Ben Swift, who is from Yorkshire and knows the roads but is not riding in the race, has been giving me pointers," continued Kennaugh who emulated Roger Hammondexternal-link in winning successive British titles.

"The roads sound similar to what I'm used to on the Isle of Man, lots of ups and downs and small twisty lanes.

"For any rider targeting the overall win, the plan will be to stay out of trouble and not lose any time on the first two stages, which are likely to end in bunch sprint finishes, because stage three with all the categorised climbs will decide the overall winner."

Kennaugh added that it was a race he had been targeting "from the start of the year" but his preparations have been hit by illness and his focus for the race has shifted.

"I have struggled through April and I'm just getting over the illness and back in the swing of things now so I'll be there to support whichever Team Sky riders need my help during the race.

"On a personal level getting through the race will be good for me but as a team we are going for the overall victory and a stage win would be a bonus.

"My team-mate Lars Petter Nordhaug is the defending champion and he should be up there again."

You can follow the race via a dedicated live online service covering the Tour de Yorkshire at - click on the "live" button. You'll also find it on the BBC News App. You can get involved on twitter via #BBCTDY

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