Steve Cummings won the Tour of Britain in what may have been the greatest win of his career that like his fellow racer may well be one of the last before he retires. Both Bradley Wiggins and Cummings are coming to the end of their careers, and both were the focus of attention when the Tour ended in London this weekend.
In 2011 Cummings, who specialises in freelancing stage on grand tour races, said of going for an overall victory in such races, “I find it really stressful. You have to be up there all the time. You have to be a complete rider.” As with 2008, he came second in that race, showing that he is quite a good all rounder.
In the 2016 Tour of Britain he didn’t find it very easy, not that these races ever are even for those who end in the autobus of the peloton with the domestiques! At the race’s time trial Cummings finished 15th, and this dented his overall lead that he gained at Stage 2 of the race. Even so he managed to be the complete rider he spoke of in 2011 by ending the Tour of Britain with the Yellow Jersey.
Earlier this year he had been told that he wasn’t being selected for the Team GB Olympic team so proved his form to Team GB selectors by taking a mountain stage win in the Tour de France. Needless to say this turned his fortunes around, got him to Rio where the road race team didn’t quite manage to podium due to the vagaries of the course wrecking all the favourites’ hopes that day.
Cummings may well retire this year, but not before helping Mark Cavendish in the World Race Championships in Qatar later this year. It will be returning a favour to his Dimension Data teammate – Cavendish helped Cummings considerably on Stage 2 of the Tour of Britain, and the Qatar race is flat so favours sprinters.
Wiggo’s last road race?
The last stage of the Tour was in London and while there was a race on, many people turned up just to see Sir Bradley Wiggins finish is tour cycling career. Where he came 105th in the field, and only really distinguished himself by having to run part of a stage, the 36 year old rider was very much star of the show.
Referring to the race itself, he said that it was one of the toughest yet staged: “I’m happy just to be back in London to be honest because earlier in the week there were times when I thought it’s going to be quite a challenge.”
Wiggo has long been an all rounder cyclist and he has one race to go – this time on the track. The Gent Six is a track cycling event where he spent a lot of his youth with his Dad. He’s doing this event for himself as much as anyone else. Speaking to Cycling News he said of his upcoming last ever competition ride: “My Dad raced there as a professional so I was born there. My earliest memories are of that track as a kid. That was one of the reasons why I chose to end there.”