Steve Cummings wins a stage race
Britain is still very Wiggins/Cavendish-centric when it comes to cycling. There’s been semi-adoption of Chris Froome, who races as a Brit and Geraint Thomas is quite well known. However, if you haven’t won a Tour de France or Olympic gold, most people would sooner spit in your face than hold a door open for you.
Steve Cummings is one British rider occupying the invisible tier beneath, compounding his anonymity by racing for a team other than Sky. (Yes, you can compound anonymity. Just take my word for that and don’t think it through.)
Cummings races for BMC – Cadel Evans’ team – and although he once won the team pursuit in the Commonwealth Games, he only notched up a silver when he competed at the 2004 Olympics. When it comes to British track cycling, silver is very much considered something for the fastest loser. Nor does he have many wins on the road. Last year, he won nothing. The year before, he won a stage of the Tour of Beijing and a stage of the Vuelta, which is by far his biggest win.
On four occasions, he’s finished as runner-up in a stage race – twice in the Tour of Britain, in the Tour of Denmark and in the Dubai Tour just a couple of weeks ago – but this week he improved on that, winning Le Tour Méditerranéen thanks to a victorious performance in the time trial and a clinging-on “I went way over my limit” ride on the final stage summit finish. The race was also notable for John Degenkolb’s moustache winning the first three stages – John Degenkolb hanging off it on each occasion.
The Tour of Oman starts tomorrow and is likely to be the first chance to see many of the main Grand Tour riders this year. Chris Froome’s riding it, as are Joaquim Rodriguez, Vincenzo Nibali and Rigoberto Uran. The Schlecks are riding too and for once I do actually mean both of them. Roman Kreuziger and Nicolas Roche will also be worth watching.
In addition to that, there’s a whole slew of riders preparing for the cobbled classics as well – Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen, Zdenek Stybar and Greg Van Avermaet are my top five out of those lot. Steve Cummings will not be in attendance, however.