Criterium du Dauphine: Liberated Cummings continues to forge path as break specialist

Steve Cummings has been circling his prey all week and on the final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine the Dimension Data rider pounced.

Almost every morning the village depart Cyclingnews would ask Cummings if today would be his day. The final stage was his last chance and he emphatically made the most of it, joining the day-long break and then shooting for home with 70 kilometres and several cols to go. Two years ago you would have given Cummings a sporting chance at best to survive but since his move to Dimension Data he has thrived. Once he accelerated clear from the front of the rest of the break the only consideration was over who would finish second.

"When you're in a so-called bigger team you always have an objective. Normally it's to do with general classification and they use up pretty much every rider for that one goal. But in this team we don't have a GC rider, which leaves us free to pick our stages so I have more opportunities and I take them," he said in his post-race press conference.

"I decided to go because [Tony] Gallopin was in front after the downhill and he's a good one so I thought it's be a good chance to have better co-opertation with 17 riders just being two. On the climb, I dropped him and I carried on alone. I hoped someone would come up but nobody came so I just carried on alone."

Without a GC rider Dimension Data have thrived, especially in this race. They picked up the points and king of the mountains jersey, while Edvald Boasson Hagen was victorious earlier in the week.

For Cummings in particular, a rider who spent the vast majority of his career working almost entirely in the service of others, this was another landmark moment.

"I did once go for GC in Tirreno-Adriatico and I was sixth or seventh. But for me I'd rather win one race than be 10 times in the top 10 and maybe I'm stupid because you get paid less. But I race for passion not money. Yeah, I don't like GC. I think it's boring sometimes; six, seven, ten teams in the front protecting one guy. I don't know. I have three days this year which will always be in my head and like really nice beautiful ways to win, and that's why I race."

Cummings' continued success is even more impressive given that he is far more of a marked card these days. His win in the Dauphine will undoubtedly enhance his prospects of gaining selection for the Olympic Games, where he could be a dark horse.

"I don't think I go under the radar now. I think people know that they need to try and follow me and it's harder but in the end if you have a lot of wattage and you're efficient in the bike. I race for passion. I don't like GC. For me, ten teams on the front protecting one guy… for me that's not why I race my bike. I race for days like today and for really beautiful ways to win."

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.