A crash on the descent off the first of two final climbs during the opening stage of the Giro della Toscana on Tuesday forced Dimension Data's Steve Cummings to abandon the Italian two-day race, according to a statement from the South African team.
"Unfortunately on that descent Steve went over the edge, but luckily he is OK and already back with us in the hotel after being checked out by the doctors," said team director Oliver Cookson.
Cummings recently took the overall win at the Tour of Britain and could have been major factor in the stage 1 finish, which Movistar's Giovanni Visconti won from a breakaway that escaped late and was quickly whittled down to four by the finale. Visconti slipped away from Daniele Bennati (Italy) Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) and Fabio Aru (Astana) in the closing kilometres to take the win.
"Following the big climb it was important that we came into the penultimate climb in a good position," Cookson said. "Then we would decide if we would go for Kristian [Sbaragli] or Mark [Cavendish]. After the climb and Mark showed he was going well by staying with the front group over the top."
Unfortunately for Dimension Data, Cummings' crash disrupted the team's plan.
"After this scenario there was a bit of confusion and seven riders with some important names got away," Cookson said. "We were working on the front tentatively at this point because our guys weren’t sure if Stevo was there or not; he went so far over the edge that nobody saw him. Once they realised Steve was not there they started to pull but with such a high caliber of riders in the lead it was always going to be hard with smaller teams. Everyone is OK though. Cavendish showed he has really good legs so we will live to fight another day."