By Gregor Brown in Tirano
Brit Steve Cummings made the Giro d'Italia's fuga del giorno when he formed part of the seven-man move 57 kilometres into stage 19 to Monte Pora. While the 27 year-old fought through rain showers and the attacks of Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff Credit Systems), the general classification battle was boiling behind.
"I knew he was going to be strong and I knew I was going to struggle a bit when we got the climbs, but I did well and gave it everything I had," Cummings described his views of Kiryienka to Cyclingnews Saturday morning in Rovetta. The Barloworld rider rode courageously on to finish the stage in fourth on the 1453-metre climb of Monte Pora.
"We had done the last 50 kilometres of the stage in training, so I new the descent a bit," he recalled of the Passo del Vivione. The escape was able to take the climb, which fed to the final two climbs, at a slow pace thanks to their huge lead over the main pack.
"When Kiryienka attacked [at the foot of the Passo della Presolana] I did not bother to go with him, I just rode my own pace," revealed Cummings. "Nicki Sørensen tried to go with him and he blew. When I was with Alexander Efimkin we were working well together, but he is not a great climber. ... I just did not have the legs to stay with Kiryienka in the end, he was very strong."
As Cummings fought for placings, the classification men closed in on him. He finished 5'25 back behind Kiryienka, and less than a minute after Di Luca and Efimkin. "I knew they were coming up fast though! A motorbike passed me I was like 'oh no.' I saw some clips of Di Luca on television, but that was about all. I think it was a pretty epic stage."
Cummings wanted to make his move on the non-mountainous stages of Locarno or Varese, but his body didn't cooperate. "Ideally the day after the rest day would have been better for an escape, but I just did not have the legs and my body had just shut down. I had two bad days, I was really struggling, but yesterday I was good and I just had to try.
"I was all out to give it everything I had; I can't do anymore than that really. I will try to get into the gruppetto today."
He revealed the night had not gone smoothly due to his countryman and room-mate, Geraint Thomas. "I did not sleep too well, sometimes the nights are like that were you can't sleep. I am rooming with Geraint Thomas and he snores! He was talking to me in his sleep last night; he was having a conversation while he was asleep and I was still awake. He snores and then you knock him and he does not wake up – it's terrible."