Perhaps buoyed by the success of his countrymen at the Beijing Olympic Games, Team Barloworld's rider Stephen Cummings put in the best performance of his season by winning the Italian summer classic Coppa Bernocchi, the final race of the Trittico Lombardo.
The British rider made the breakaway after just 20 kilometres of racing along with Luca Celli (LPR Brakes), Vladimir Borisov (Amore & Vita), gaining a whopping 12 minutes on the peloton - a gap which would be reduced to only three minutes by the finish.
"They cooperated perfectly," stated Barloworld directeur sportif Alberto Volpi. Despite the race finishing on five laps of 5.6 kilometres around Legnano and a strong chase from several teams, the trio came into the final circuit with an unbeatable advantage. In the final kilometer, Celli tried his luck with an attack, immediately countered by Borisov, but Cummings gave him no room and was able to overpower his fellow escapees at the line. The peloton was led home by Lampre's Alessandro Ballan more than three minutes later.
"Personally, I must admit this win was a little unexpected," said Volpi, "but that's cycling sometimes: a breakaway win today was truly surprising. Nevertheless, Cummings was not a surprise at all: he rode well yesterday, despite not finishing the race, and he attacked in the finale at Tre Valli. He had another chance to show what he is worth, and everyone can see the answer."
Cummings' win added to the team's success in Italy this week which included a third place for Austrian Champion Christian Pfannberger at the Coppa Agostoni. Team Barloworld will now head to Trentino for the Trofeo Melinda on Saturday, where Colombian Mauricio Soler will make his return to racing after a broken hand ended his Tour de France.
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