• Team Sky's Peter Kennaugh stole a march on the peloton to win the Critérium du Dauphiné opener (Sirotti)Source: Sirotti
Peter Kennaugh has held off a fast-finishing group of riders, including Australian Simon Gerrans, to clinch the first stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné at Albertville.
By
AAP/Cycling Central

8 Jun 2015 - 6:59 AM  UPDATED 8 Jun 2015 - 8:34 AM

The 25-year-old pounced 2km from the end of Sunday's 131.5km stage shortly after a long break containing Björn Thurau (Bora-Argon 18), Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka), Maarten Wynants (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Romain Guillemois (Europcar) had been reeled in after eight low category hills, one of them just 12km from Albertville.

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With the kind of acceleration that saw him crowned British champion in 2014, he was able to break away from and then hold off the peloton to win by two seconds from Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) while Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) finished fifth as part of the chasing mini peleton.

"Nothing like that was planned. We expected a sprint too. Maybe some of the sprinters's teams didn't want to work early on. For me, it was just to keep Froome out of trouble really and not lose any time on GC," said Kennaugh.

"I had to start the final climb in the top ten, I just followed moves, as long as I didn't bring any of the GC contenders, then I was ok to go. The hard part was actually to get in that breakaway in the first place.

"It was very fast on that final climb. I thought well this is my chance. Around two and half kilometers to go maybe, I just got in to a left hand corner full gas. It's the only way my style of rider can win, which is why it's hard to actually win races, it's not like being a sprinter."

Kennaugh, a 2012 Olympic pursuit champion, pulled on the overall leader's yellow and blue jersey which he'll wear during the second of eight stages, a 173km ride featuring two hard climbs.

Stage 1: 131.5km, Ugine - Albertville
1 Peter Kennaugh (GBR) Sky 3hr 6min 51sec
2 Sacha Modolo (ITA) Lampre-Merida 0:00:02
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) MTN-Qhubeka
4 Tiesj Benoot (BEL) Lotto-Soudal
5 Simon Gerrans (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE
6 Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) Cofidis
7 Jay McCarthy (AUS) Tinkoff-Saxo
8 Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar
9 Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) AG2R
10 Cyril Gautier (FRA) Europcar

General classification
1 Peter Kennaugh (GBR) Sky 3hr 6min 41sec
2 Sacha Modolo (ITA) Lampre-Merida 0:00:06
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) MTN-Qhubeka 0:00:08
4 Tiesj Benoot (BEL) Lotto Soudal 0:00:12
5 Simon Gerrans (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE
6 Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) Cofidis
7 Jay McCarthy (AUS) Tinkoff-Saxo
8 Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar
9 Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) AG2R
10 Cyril Gautier (FRA) Europcar