Bora-Hansgrohe rider Peter Kennaugh takes break from cycling due to mental health issues

Tom Cary
The Telegraph
Peter Kennaugh has not competed since completing the UAE Tour at the beginning of March - 2018 Getty Images
Peter Kennaugh has not competed since completing the UAE Tour at the beginning of March - 2018 Getty Images

Peter Kennaugh, the London 2012 Olympic gold medallist and former Team Sky rider, has decided to take an indefinite break from cycling because of “mental health issues”. 

Kennaugh, 29, made the announcement on Instagram on Friday, admitting he had been struggling “on and off the bike for many years”.

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One of the most talented riders to emerge from the British system in the past decade, Kennaugh has achieved a huge amount in his career.

But there has always been the feeling that he has never quite reached his potential.

An Olympic team pursuit gold medallist in 2012, he has twice won the national road race and played key supporting roles for leaders at Sky, notably when helping Chris Froome to his first Tour de France yellow jersey in 2013.

Kennaugh has also taken a number of victories in his own right, including a memorable stage atop Alpe d’Huez at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

The Manx rider opted to move from Team Sky to Bora-Hansgrohe last year in an effort to kick on but endured a frustrating season, taking several months out of the sport last spring. 

Although he came back in the second half of the season and performed well, he has had another stop-start season so far this year and had not raced competitively since the UAE Tour in February.

“The time has come where it is now necessary to become one with my decision to take a break from professional cycling,” Kennaugh wrote in his Instagram post. 

“After many years of struggling on and off the bike, I have made this decision, not only for me, but also for my family. 

“I need to concentrate on the person that I want to be going forward and to rediscover happiness, motivation and enthusiasm in my day-to-day life.

“I can’t thank enough the people who have helped me through the last couple of years, especially the last couple of weeks. Without having to mention any names, these people will know who they are ... I am very thankful for their love and support.

“With hope, I am excited for the years to come and the fresh challenges that lie ahead in and out of sport.”

Meanwhile, both the men’s and women’s pelotons are gearing up for the Tour of Flanders, one of the biggest one-day races of the season, on Sunday.

The women race first with the men racing afterwards. With Lizzie Deignan still absent following the birth of her first child last autumn, British interest in the women’s race is limited.

Team Sky’s Luke Rowe – whose best finish was fifth in 2016 – will have high hopes in the men’s race, however, following strong performances at Ghent-Wevelgem last weekend and in Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.

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