Philippa York analysis: Cummings shows he still has what it takes at Tour of Britain

Dimension Data's Steve Cummings at the 2019 Tour of Britain pre-race press conference
Dimension Data's Steve Cummings at the 2019 Tour of Britain pre-race press conference (Image credit: Getty Images)

The street name for the finish of stage 4 of the Tour of Britain is rather appropriate: Beast Banks. And, as it suggests, the route over to Kendal from Gateshead has been rather selective. Only the strongest and the more natural climbers have survived, and although Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) is too modest to call himself either of those types of riders, he's part of the final selection.

After what he describes as an average year of form, Cummings seems to be rediscovering the level that has seen him take Grand Tour stage wins and national championships titles. However, professional cycling is a brutal environment and the turnover within teams means that being average isn't always a guarantee of being part of the peloton the following year.

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Philippa York

Philippa York is a long-standing Cyclingnews contributor, providing expert racing analysis. As one of the early British racers to take the plunge and relocate to France with the famed ACBB club in the 1980's, she was the inspiration for a generation of racing cyclists – and cycling fans – from the UK.

The Glaswegian gained a contract with Peugeot in 1980, making her Tour de France debut in 1983 and taking a solo win in Bagnères-de-Luchon in the Pyrenees, the mountain range which would prove a happy hunting ground throughout her Tour career. 

The following year's race would prove to be one of her finest seasons, becoming the first rider from the UK to win the polka dot jersey at the Tour, whilst also becoming Britain's highest-ever placed GC finisher with 4th spot. 

She finished runner-up at the Vuelta a España in 1985 and 1986, to Pedro Delgado and Álvaro Pino respectively, and at the Giro d'Italia in 1987. Stage race victories include the Volta a Catalunya (1985), Tour of Britain (1989) and Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (1990). York retired from professional cycling as reigning British champion following the collapse of Le Groupement in 1995.