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Pete Kennaugh takes 'indefinite break' from cycling due to mental health issues

Isle of Man rider first brought problems to light last summer

Joe Robinson
5 Apr 2019

Two-time British road race champion Pete Kennaugh is to take an indefinite break from professional cycling due to ongoing mental health issues.

Announced by his Bora-Hansgrohe team today in a short statement, it confirmed that the 29-year-old will step away from the sport with immediate effect with no indication as to when he may return to the sport.

Kennaugh has already raced in 2019 starting with the Challenge Mallorca series in February before also participating at the Vuelta a Murcia and UAE Tour stage races as recently as last month. The decision to step away from racing comes as a mutual understanding between rider and team.

In the statement, Kennaugh wrote: '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.'

Team manager Ralph Denk also offered a statement of support for Kennaugh.

'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.'

Kennaugh's battle with mental health issues became known last summer. Moving across from Team Sky to Bora-Hansgrohe, Kennaugh raced the 2018 Tour Down Under before taking an unexplained three-month break before returning to racing at the Tour de Romandie in April.

Speculation at the time surrounded whether the absence was down to an unknown injury, but Kennaugh then confirmed later that year to multiple news outlets that his brief hiatus was related to psychological rather than physiological problems.

Talking to Cyclingtips, Kennaugh spoke on how he was struggling to find the motivation to train.  

'Whether it was related to something mental, I don’t know. But I just don’t want to go through it ever again. Maybe it was just expectations of myself, and underlying pressure and stuff.

'I spoke to the doctors on the team quite a bit and I also actually saw a psychiatrist a few times just to try to get the bottom of it,' said Kennaugh.

'He talked about whatever it was, being in the same team for eight years. Then you put all this underlying pressure on yourself, which just builds up without you realising. It just came out in that way and hit you at once.' 

This came after Kennaugh moved away from Team Sky, the team in which the Isle of Man rider had been a part of since turning professional in 2010 and achieved his best results.

At the time, he attributed the move as an attempt to 'move out of his comfort zone' having felt he was going through the motions at the British WorldTour team.