Team Sky's Peter Kennaugh is enjoying his time spent in the yellow jersey at the Critérium du Dauphiné since his surprise stage 1 victory on Sunday. The British road champion is realistic, however, about his role on the team and fully expects to hand over the race lead to teammate Chris Froome during the mountainous stages still to come.
"It's been a dream come true today [stage 2], just riding behind the Tour de France winner Chris Froome," Kennaugh said in a post-race interview after Monday's stage in Parc des Oiseaux Villars-les-Dombes.
"Being in the maillot jaune in the Dauphiné is just an incredible feeling. I honestly never saw myself being in this position. Honestly, for me, I'm savouring every moment and just making the most out of each day."
Kennaugh won the opening stage of the WorldTour race in Albertville when he attack from a disintegrating breakaway, and caught the sprinters in the main field off guard. The move, which happened with in the final two kilometres, saw him take the day's win by a mere two seconds, and the early race lead.
During stage 2, he enjoyed the benefits of being in the yellow jersey, fully supported by Team Sky including their former Tour de France winner and Dauphiné favourite, Froome. Despite a hectic race that saw an early breakaway set off, several crashes and a bunch sprint, Kennaugh said he felt relatively at ease.
"I was quite surprised with how easy the break went in the beginning, which made for a nice relaxed first half of the race and then it was just same old in the last 15km; stress, fighting, arguments, riders falling down. Obviously with the wind it was stressful and no team was willing to really pull and try and split it."
With the help of his team, Kennaugh made it through stage 2 still in the race lead by two seconds head sprinters Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merdia) and the day's winner Nacer Bouhanni. He is hoping to continue with one more day in yellow following stage 3's 24.5km team time trial from Roanne to Montagny.
"I'm really excited for tomorrow, it's the one stage that I've been looking forward to since I knew I was doing this race," Kennaugh said. "The team came in a day earlier and we did a team time trial together on Saturday, and that went really well."
Team Sky had a disappointing ninth place in the team time trial at the recent Giro d'Italia, however, they did win the opening team time trial at the Tour de Romandie at the end of April, and they're looking to repeat that performance at the Dauphiné on Tuesday.
"Obviously, we are carrying a lot of morale from the win at Romandie," Kennaugh said. "We are missing Geraint Thomas, who has a massive engine for the team time trial, but even without him we still have a super strong team. I think it's going to be close. I don't see why we can't take the stage. It would be awesome if we could."
The race then heads into the higher mountains, during which Kennaugh expects to resume his support role for Froome, beginning on stage 5 from Digne-Les-Bains to Pra Loup (which mimics stage 17 of the Tour de France), stage 6 to Villard-de-Lans - Vercors, stage 7 to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc and the stage 8 finale to Modane Valfréjus.
"I'm sure everything will be back to normality in a few days time, so I'm just making the most of it," he said.
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