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Peter Kennaugh (Sky)
Manxman hoping to hit the ground running in 2014
Team Sky's Peter Kennaugh believes that Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins can work together to gain the team's third consecutive Tour de France victory.
"As long as Brad wants to do it and I think that he does. I think if you set your objectives clearly, going into the race, then I don’t see why not," Kennaugh told Cyclingnews.
There has been an internal rivalry between Froome and Wiggins, since the former appeared to attack Wiggins on La Toussuire during the 2012 Tour. David Walsh later revealed that Wiggins withheld Froome's winnings, for his part in the victory, until just before the World Championships last year.
"Everything seemed fine in the last camp," Kennaugh said of the relationship between the team's two leaders. The Manxman was part of the eight riders to assist Froome to victory last year and he is looking to make the cut again.
While he's got it on his calendar, the 24-year-old is taking nothing for granted. "You've got to do everything you can to make sure that you get into the team," he told Cyclingnews. "You can pencil it in, but anything can happen before then. You've got to prove yourself throughout the season. There's nine places and there's probably about 14 guys who've got it pencilled in."
This year's Tour de France will tackle nine of the cobbled sectors that make up the Paris-Roubaix route. As Fränk Schleck found out in 2010, the cobbles can be the breaking of your Tour de France campaign, but Kennaugh doesn't seem fazed by the challenge.
"I think I'm alright, I'll just get stuck in and do the best I can," he said in his usual self-confident manner. "It doesn't matter what you throw in there - crosswinds, cobbles or whatever - it's going to be the same. Every rider accepts that it’s going to be stressful. When you look at the guys we've got I don’t think we've got anything to worry about. We'll probably gain time rather than lose it on that stage."
Along with a second Tour de France Kennaugh is looking to play a supporting role at Paris-Nice. While Sky has big ambitions for 2014, his personal ambitions are slightly more modest. The Manxman will take part in the Ardennes Classics for the first time and hopes to make his mark on the smaller Italian one-day races.
"I just want to hit the ground running really, instead of starting the season out of condition," he said. "If I can go for the win then I want to be able to, rather than not being able to, like last year. There are not any races I've got it penned in where I think 'I'd like to win that'. I don't think I'm in the position to say or do that, because I've never won a pro race in my life."
The Manxman moved to Nice on Sunday, like many of his teammates, to be closer to the hills and make the most of the better weather. Despite missing some training he says the move won’t have any impact on the start of his season.
Further in the future, Kennaugh has also set his sights on the track for the Rio Olympics in 2016. The 24-year-old won gold in London on the track, but has since kept his sole focus on the road.
"I would like to compete on the track again, but when I start riding it properly again is a different question," he told Cyclingnews. "I think I'll just see how I feel a bit closer to the time. I might start riding it again at the end of 2015 and do a full winter maybe.
"It's just something that's at the back of my mind. I'm just focussing on this year and what I've got to do to be where I want to be at the start of the season. I might feel different about it in a year's time, so I don't want anything set in stone."
Kennaugh took part in the Revolution series at the weekend, where he won the points race by lapping the field seven times. He will go to his first team camp on January 13, for 15 days, before beginning his road season at Challenge Mallorca in February.