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Peter Kennaugh takes indefinite break from racing due to mental health issues

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Peter Kennaugh on the Tre Valli Varesine podium

Peter Kennaugh on the Tre Valli Varesine podium
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Peter Kennaugh (Bora Hansgrohe) in action during the final stage at Murcia

Peter Kennaugh (Bora Hansgrohe) in action during the final stage at Murcia
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Peter Kennaugh (Great Britain) on the attack

Peter Kennaugh (Great Britain) on the attack
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Pete Kennaugh makes sure he is protected from the sun

Pete Kennaugh makes sure he is protected from the sun
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Peter Kennaugh (Bora-hansgrohe) has decided to take an 'indefinite break' from professional cycling due to mental health issues. The British all-rounder made the announcement on Instagram, with his team coinciding the post with a short press release.

"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 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 re-discover 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."

Riders and other members of the cycling community, including Adam Blythe and Tom Southam, were quick to post messages of support for the 29-year-old.

In a statement released by his team it was announced that Kennaugh would be, "taking an indefinite break from professional cycling due to ongoing mental health issues. The team supports Peter in his decision and have agreed that this is the best course of action to ensure he can return to full health in the near future."

Kennaugh has not raced competitively since the UAE Tour in February. He had a stop-start season in 2018, and took several months out of the sport in the spring. He came back in the second half of the season and performed well with a string of impressive results. However, today's news puts his career on hold as he seeks help and space away from the ranks of professional cycling.

"I would like to thank everyone at BORA - hansgrohe for their support and understanding to allow me to recover away from the sport. I wish the team the best of luck for the rest of the season," Kennaugh said in the team's statement.

Team manager at Bora-hansgrohe, Ralph Denk, thanked Kennaugh for his service. Kennaugh joined the team in 2018 after several years at Team Sky.

"We thank Peter for his contribution to the team and we wish him well in his recovery process. We look forward to him making a full return to professional cycling in the future," Denk wrote.

Kennaugh came through the ranks as a talented British track rider. He won a number of medals at world and European junior level. He won the national U23 road race in 2008 but broke through a year later on the international road season with a stage win and third overall in the 'Baby Giro'.

A year later he joined the professional ranks with Team Sky during their inaugural season. He made his Grand Tour debut in the Giro d'Italia the following year but remained part of the British Cycling track squad before picking up the biggest title of his career with a gold medal at the London Olympics as part of the men's team pursuit.

He remained with Team Sky until the end of 2017, taking a number of victories including a memorable stage atop Alpe d'Huez at the Criterium du Dauphine. A move and a fresh start at Bora-hansgrohe followed, with the rider telling Cyclingnews in December 2016 that he 'had to leave' and was 'going through the motions' on the British team.

However he failed to cement a place in the Tour de France during his first season at the German team after missing a large portion of the spring campaign due to a loss of motivation and form. He came back to win the GP Pino Cerami in August of last year and it sparked a run of strong performances. This season Kennaugh rode in Spain before taking part in the UAE Tour. The event marks his final race for the foreseeable future as he takes time away from the sport and concentrates on his personal well-being.

If you would like to talk about any of the issues relating to this story, you can contact any of the following:

Mind
NHS
Mental Health Helpline