Cummings set to sign two-year extension with Dimension Data

British champion eyes first Tour de France opportunity on stage 8

Stephen Cummings will sign a new contract at Dimension Data during this year's Tour de France. The 36-year-old has spent the last three seasons at the team and plans to put pen to paper on a new two-year deal, having agreed to terms with the squad.

"We've had really positive discussions. We've agreed but not signed. Hopefully, we'll have that done by the end of the Tour. I like the project and I like the opportunities I get," Cummings told Cyclingnews.

Cummings had drawn interest from several rival WorldTour teams, who, despite his advancing years, were keen to sign a rider enjoying the best period of his career.

Cummings came back from two injuries this season to make the start line at the Tour de France. He won both the road race and the time trial at the British Championships in order to secure his Tour spot and has eyed several opportunities to win a stage. He has won stages in each of the last two Tours.

"Tomorrow is a good opportunity," he said when looking to stage 8 from Dole to Sation des Rousses. The terrain, with it's three categorised climbs, is perfect for Cummings' characteristics if he has the legs to match.

"I just have to try and find the right move at the start, and people are still quite fresh. Finding the right move isn't easy. What I like is a really hard start and the final tomorrow does really suit me.

"Tomorrow is a good stage but there are other opportunities if it doesn't happen tomorrow."

Cummings' injury issues this season meant that he missed a considerable block of racing. He last completed a stage race at Tirreno-Adriatico back in March. The opening week of the Tour, however, has helped him find his rhythm.

"The legs are good and of course that's important. These stages are good for me. It's helped me come back into the group and find the rhythm. It's given me the chance get into the groove again because there's not been anything super hard."

Of course, Cummings' isn't the only rider here chasing stage wins. Robert Gesink, Thibaut Pinot, Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland all have similar game plans – highlighting the calibre of rider the Dimension Data athlete is up against.

When asked who is rivals were, Cummings said: "That's probably the 20 or so riders at the back of the bunch riding around me. It's probably a few of them. Some sway more to hillier stages, and if it's too hilly then it's too hard for me. There are some guys like Pierre Rolland who can go harder on the real mountain stages but tomorrow should be good."

Cummings isn't just at the Tour de France to ride one-man missions. He has been pitching in when called upon.

"I'm happy. They've asked me to help in the sprint a few times, and I'm happy to. Today they've asked me to help a bit and it's a case of waiting for my stages. The sprinters wouldn't try and win tomorrow, and it's the same sort of thing."

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