Cummings eyes breakaway in Vuelta al Pais Vasco

Breakaway specialists are something of a dying breed in the current peloton, but veteran Steve Cummings continues to buck the trend - and after taking a stage win recently in Tirreno-Adriatico with a well-calculated late attack, the Dimension Data pro is now weighing up his chances of doing the same in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

Today’s 193-kilometer stage from Vitoria to Lesaka is the longest the entire race, and could be one such opportunity, whilst Cummings already made one brief dig in the finale of stage 1 as the bunch raced down towards Markina-Xemein.

“I’m going to keep trying,” Cummings, now 50th overall and 3-23 down, told Cyclingnews on Tuesday. “I think my condition is better than in Tirreno-Adriatico. I feel better on the climbs, so we’ll see.”

Discussing his stage 1 attack, he said, “I might as well try a bit because I’m not going to do anything in the sprints. I made a bit of a mistake there on the last climb because I felt really good, moved up too early and was a bit too much in front. So I then lost a few positions, because I didn’t quite have the legs afterwards.”

The key to a good break, Cummings says, is choosing the right moment and in races where there are so many hills, that moment is when the bunch has already been shredded, at least partially, by earlier climbs - as it was on stage 1 and could be again on stage 3’s lumpy finale.

“You have to see the time gaps and everything, but it’s always hard to get in a break here. There’s some days where there’s a bit in the final that people don’t know. If you pick your moment well and there’s only 40 or 50 riders left, that’s probably your best chance for a stage.”

After the Vuelta al País Vasco, Cummings will race Flèche Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour de Yorkshire.

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.